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India becomes the first country to culture the new viral strain UK-variant of Chinese coronavirus successfully

Viral culture is a laboratory technique in which cells are grown under controlled conditions, generally outside their natural environment.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturday said that India has successfully isolated and cultured the new strain of coronavirus that causes Covid-19. ICMR further added that no other country has yet reported successful isolation and culture of the UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2.

In a tweet shared by ICMR, the institution said, “SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing COVID-19, was being tracked through a countrywide network of ICMR-laboratories since the early days of the epidemic in India. 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.”

Viral culture is a laboratory technique in which cells are grown under controlled conditions, generally outside their natural environment.

ICMR said that the Vero cell lines were used by the scientists of ICMR-NIV to culture the UK-variant of the virus.

UK-variant is a highly transmissible strain of Covid-19

A few weeks back, it was confirmed that the new more transmissible strain of the Covid-19 virus is behind the spike in infections in the United Kingdom. The experts are suggesting that it is more transmissible than the other SARS-CoV-2 variants. As a precaution, India had suspended all flights originating from the UK to India on December 21 until December 31, which was later extended January 7, 2021.

The central government and state governments are on high alert due to the new strain, and they are working on tracking, testing and isolating patients from the UK since the last week of November. Earlier, there were reports that some of the flyers were untraceable due to wrong addresses, old addresses on passport, wrong contact information and switched off mobile phones. So far, 29 cases of the new strain have been discovered in India.

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