SARS-CoV-2 variants rapid emergence has posed critical challenge of higher transmission and immune escape causing serious threats to control the pandemic. The present study was carried out in confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 patients to elucidate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 variant strain. We performed RT-PCR using extracted RNA from the nasopharyngeal swabs of suspected Covid-19 patients. Confirmed positive cases with CT<25 were subjected to whole-genome sequencing to track the prevalence of the virus in the Malwa region of Punjab. The presence of B.1, B.1.1.7, B.1.351, B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, AY.1 and other unidentified variants of SARS-CoV-2 was found in the studied population. Among all the variants, B.1.1.7 (UK variant) and B.1.617.2 (delta-Indian variant) was found to be the most dominant variant in the population and was found majorly in Patiala followed by Ludhiana, SBS Nagar, Mansa and Sangrur. In addition to this, sequencing results also observed that the dominant trait was more prevalent in male population and age group 21-40 years. The B.1.1.7 and B.1.617.2 variant of SARS-CoV-2 is replacing the wild type (Wuhan Strain) and emerging as the dominant variant in Punjab.
SARS-CoV-2, RT-PCR, whole genome sequencing, UK variant, Delta variant, Punjab
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