In a major breakthrough, India successfully cultured the new coronavirus strain, which originated in the UK, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has said.
In a tweet, the ICMR claimed that no country has yet reported successful isolation and culture of the UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2. Culture is the process by which cells are grown under controlled conditions, generally outside their natural environment.
This should help scientists understand the nature and behaviour of the UK variant strain better. Also, this is expected to help scientists working on creating recombinants and antibiotics. [Recombinants denote an organism, cell, or genetic material formed by recombination].
“UK-variant of the virus, with all signature changes, is now successfully isolated and cultured at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) from the clinical specimens collected from UK-returnees,” the ICMR said.
India successfully cultures the new viral strain on the horizon (UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2). #ICMRFIGHTSCOVID19 #IndiaFightsCOVID19 #CoronaUpdatesInIndia #COVID19 #Unite2FightCorona @MoHFW_INDIA @PIB_India @DrHVoffice @drharshvardhan @AshwiniKChoubey @icmr_niv pic.twitter.com/vaCMQMSHOJ
— ICMR (@ICMRDELHI) January 2, 2021
ICMR said vero cell lines were used by the scientists of ICMR-NIV to culture the UK-variant of the virus.
As per a Bloomberg report which appeared in the LiveMint, the new UK variant has been reported by Denmark, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy, Sweden, France, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, Japan, Lebanon and Singapore. The report said, from November 25 to December 23, around 33,000 passengers had disembarked at various Indian airports from the UK. All these passengers are being tracked and subjected by States and UTs to RT-PCR tests to track down the mutant strain of COVID-19, it added.
(With inputs from Agencies)