Even as the first confirmed COVID-19 case of India was reported on the 30th January in Kerala but a recent common ancestor of Indian strains with its roots in China was in circulation in November 2019.
According to the study of the top scientists of the leading research, institutes have estimated that the ancestor of the novel coronavirus strain of Wuhan was in circulation in the country as early as December 11th, 2019. The estimation has been deduced by a scientific technique called ‘time to most recent common ancestor’. As per the scientists, the virus strain that is currently in circulation in Telangana and other states originated between the 26th of November and 25th December. However, it is yet unclear if the virus was carried by a passenger.
The researchers of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology have also estimated the age of the most recent common ancestor of various strains of the coronavirus. Along with that, the researchers have also discovered a new strain that is different than the existing one. It is named as Clade I/A3i. A clade is defined as a group of organisms believed to comprise all the evolutionary descendants of a common ancestor.
The new virus strain responsible for most cases
The viral strain that was found in Kerala from the Patient-1 belongs to the Wuhan ancestor of the coronavirus whereas the virus strain found in Hyderabad is unique and has its origins in Southeast Asia but not in China. The exact country of the virus is not found yet.
The new virus strain found in Hyderabad, Clade I/A3i, was in circulation between January 17th and February 25th. Another clade named A2a that is the predominant clade in India has had its most recent common ancestor on January 2 has emerged in India between December 13th and January 22nd.
According to the scientists, the new clade was introduced in the country from a single point and from a single outbreak that spread quickly across the country. The states that have the highest proportions of the new clade include Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Maharashtra, and Delhi which is followed by Bihar, Karnataka, UP, West Bengal, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh.
Source: The Times of India