A3i Covid-19 trait

A3i COVID-19 Trait Second Most Prevalent in India

CSIR labs have recently identified a coronavirus type (A3i) trait which is found in approximately 41% of the population affected with COVID-19 in India.

A3i COVID-19 Trait Second Most Prevalent in India

Top Current Affairs 5th June 2020

Source | The Hindu


GS Paper II: Issues related to Health sector.



A3i Covid-19 trait

Key Takeaways

  • With this new clade, there are now 11 SARS-CoV-2 types which are identified globally with at least six of them identified in India.
  • A3i is the predominant strain circulating in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Delhi.

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Context: Scientists from the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology and the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratories have recently identified a coronavirus type (A3i) trait which is found in approximately 41% of the population affected with COVID-19 in India.

  • With this, the new A3i COVID-19 Trait may be the second most prevalent in India and may comprise 3.5% of the genomes globally.


What you need to know about this new COVID-19 Trait?

In order to achieve this feat, the scientists analysed 213 genomes and found that 62% of them were A2a, making it the most dominant coronavirus clade in India.

What is a Clade? : The coronavirus type or clade, is a cluster of SARS-CoV-2 viruses that share evolutionary similarities and are grouped together based on characteristic mutations or similarities in parts of their genomes. In layman terms, a clade can be understood as a strain of the virus.

  • This newly identified A3i or Clade I/A3i comprised 41% of the population affected with the virus in India, making it the second most common coronavirus type in India.
  • The A3i clade stood out from other clades due to differences at four different places in its sequence.
  • According to scientific analysis, the A3i clade mutates slowly compared to the A2a which is often disadvantageous for the virus.
  • So far, there is no evidence of whether A3i is more virulent (extremely severe or harmful in its effects) and linked to more deaths.
  • A3i is the predominant strain circulating in Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra and Delhi.


Also Read: Human Coronavirus and its Types


What is the significance of this classification?

With the help of such classifications there will be ease for identification that whether certain strains of virus are particularly virulent, spread more easily, how they are likely to evolve over time and whether some could be less vulnerable to certain kinds of vaccines.

  • With this new clade, there are now 11 SARS-CoV-2 types which are identified globally with at least six of them identified in India.
  • According to the previous studies, while type O was the first ancestral family of the virus identified from China, it’s the A2a type, which is the most dominant in the world because of a mutation in its genes that allow that coronavirus’ spike to more efficiently infiltrate the lungs.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has so far maintained that there are three principal variants in India of the SARS-CoV-2 virus:
    • Those that came from Wuhan, China.
    • Another from the USA.
    • Third from Europe via air travellers.


Read More: COVID-19 TECHNOLOGY ACCESS POOL (C-TAP)


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