Jayanti Ravi, principal secretary (health and family welfare), on Sunday mentioned that Gujarat’s death rate was higher compared to states such as Kerala and that it could be due to different strains of Covid-19 at work.
On Sunday, C G Joshi, director of Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC), told media that analysis abroad had shown that L-type strain had been dominant where more mortality was reported among Covid-19 positive patients. It was the same strain which was prevalent in Wuhan of China.
Joshi confirmed to TOI that the genome sequencing of Covid-19 virus at the GBRC indicated that it was L-strain. “However, the patient from which the sample for virus was taken has recovered,” he said. Leading infectious diseases specialist Dr Atul Patel said that process has been initiated to identify if Wuhan’s L-strain, which is more virulent and morbid, is more prevalent in Gujarat.
“The pandemic is primarily driven by more virulent L-strain and less severe S-strain globally. Samples will be collected from patients with very severe complications and those with light symptoms for the GBRC to sequence and identify the viral strain responsible for higher death rate,” he said. He added that combination of strains with higher prevalence was also possible. “L-strain is found more prevalent in Wuhan, Italy, Spain, and New York,” he said. Comparatively, a few of the places have not recorded as much mortality or severity. Difference in strain could be one of the deciding factors, said experts.
In Gujarat, the death rate is 4.5% of the positive patients compared to India’s 3.1%. Analysis of the deaths has revealed that more than 80% of the patients were having co-morbidity and they were in high-risk group (below 10 years of age and above 60 years of age).