The presence of virus variants that are believed to have triggered a rise in coronavirus cases was introduced by foreign travellers and further spread throughout the country by migrant workers and the devotees who attended the religious gathering, according to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
The country's apex health research body, in its study, highlighted that the concerned variants involved in the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic were not detected earlier.
LiveMint reported that the study indicated that variants of SARS-CoV-2 (variant of concern (VOC), variant under investigation (VUI) or interest, variant of high consequence, and double mutant) were not observed from January to August 2020. The data is based on the samples which were taken on December 9.
"The circulating clades in the country may be attributed to the early introduction into India through travellers as well as the mixing of clades," said Dr. Pragya Yadav, a scientist at the National Institute of Virology (NIV)-ICMR in Pune.
These variants are potent due to "antigenic drift, increased transmissibility, and immune escape (especially for B.1.351) mechanism.
According to data published by the Union Health Ministry, the country reported 2,59,591 fresh COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, while the fatalities rose by 4,209.