According to a global database on coronavirus genomes, the United States, the country worst affected by the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19), has not been proactive in sequencing cases to check for genetic changes.
The GISAID Initiative said that at 43rd place, the United States ranks abysmally low. Of the more than 18 million cases, only 51,212 (or 0.3 percent) have been genetically analysed for variants, the report released last week said.
Sequencing can help to detect the spread of the virus and to understand whether a specific variant has arrived the country. According to its health authorities, the United Kingdom was able to sequence 7.4% of its documented cases leading to the new strain detection in mid-December.
According to the GISAID Initiative database, Australia is at the top of the sequencing list, having sequenced 58.6 percent of its cases, the highest worldwide. The other nations at the top of the list are New Zealand, Taiwan, Denmark, and Iceland.
The first case of a new strain of Sars-CoV-2 virus has been recorded by the United States, which has already been warned by many experts.
Health officials said on Monday that the Colorado man, who emerged as the first reported person in the US to have a Covid-19 variant that is spreading in the United Kingdom, had not been travelling. This triggered a host of questions about how in the Rockies the new strain showed up.
At a news conference on Wednesday, Colorado officials are expected to provide more details on how the man in his 20s came down with the variant from a mostly rural area of rolling plains at the edge of the Denver metro area.
India, meanwhile, has sequenced more than 4,000 coronavirus genomes and submitted Shekhar Mande, Director General of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to GISAID last week.
The Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) of the CSIR in Delhi and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad have sequenced over 2,200 coronavirus genome sequences in India alone.
New strain cases were also reported in India – six on Tuesday and 14 today, bringing the total number of infected individuals to 20. In order to check the spread of the B117 variant, the Union Ministry of Health said that all these individuals were isolated separately in various wards.
Canada, Italy, and the United Arab Emirates have also found the variant.