Arunachal, May 16: The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), has identified the B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-COV2 in Arunachal in DNA sequencing results of six Covid-19 samples sent by Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS).

Tomo Riba Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) media cell in-charge Dr Jego Ori on Saturday said that the initial results of genomic sequencing of the COVID-19 samples show that the Indian strain of the Coronavirus B.1.617.2 variant has been identified in Arunachal Pradesh.

A total of 15 samples were sent to the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics (NIBMG) in Kolkata, and 10 samples to the RMRC in Dibrugarh.

Among the 10 samples processed by the ICMR-RMRC, six were suitable for sequencing.

All six samples were identified in Arunachal with the B.1.617 variant of SARS-COV2, also called the Indian strain/double variant.

The SARS-CoV-2 lineage B.1.617 which consists of at least 3 sub-lineages — B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3 — has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation.

The variant has been found prevalent largely in Maharashtra and Delhi that have been severely hit by the devastating second wave of the pandemic.

The B.1.617 variant is believed to be partly responsible for India’s devastating second wave of the pandemic that began this February. Emerging research suggests the variant may be more transmissible than the previously evolved ones.

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Meanwhile, health officials in Arunachal Pradesh have asked the state government to extend the lockdown in the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR) for at least 14 days to curb the Covid-19 spread.

The Indian Medical Association-Arunachal Pradesh (IMA-AP) in a representation to chief minister Pema Khandu on Saturday said that the lockdown needs to be extended for a period of another 14 days due to “compelling reasons”.

Stating that “it is a once-in-a-generation pandemic,” Dr Chauhan sought the support of everyone in dispelling misinformation and taking Covid appropriate measures seriously, such as maintaining physical distance, and respiratory and hand hygiene.

Health Minister Alo Libang had also Friday said that his department has recommended an extension of lockdown in the ICR.