New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India records 2,411 new infections in last 24 hours taking the total toll of positive COVID-19 cases to 37,776. This is the highest spike ever recorded in the country in a span of 24 hours.

The death toll also climbed up to 1,223 with 71 fatalities being reported in a day from across the country, according to the data provided by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Saturday evening. 

Also Read: Coronavirus Lockdown: PM Modi meets Amit Shah, Nirmala Sitharaman to finalise 2nd economic stimulus package

Of the total  37,776 cases, 26,535 are active cases, while 10,018 people have been cured of the deadly disease and have been discharged from the hospitals. 

According to the data by the home ministry, Maharashtra remains to be the worst affected states with 11,506 positive COVID-19 cases. The death toll in the state has also climbed up to 485. 1,879 people have also been cured and discharged in the state.

Maharashtra was followed by Gujarat, which has 4,721 COVID-19 cases and 236 deaths, while 735 people have been cured and discharged in the state. The national capital, Delhi remains to the thirds worst affected state in India, with 3,738 cases and 61 deaths. Meanwhile, 1,167 people in the national capital have also been cured and discharged from the hospitals. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is planning to study whether the novel coronavirus strain in India has undergone mutation while spreading within the country over the last two months.

According to a senior scientist of the country's apex health research body, determining whether or not the SARS-CoV2 strain has changed form will help in ensuring the effectiveness of a potential vaccine.

"The study will also indicate whether it has become more virulent and increased transmission capability."
Samples will be collected from COVID-19 patients to study whether the novel coronavirus strain has mutated or not, he said, as reported by news agency PTI. 

However, the study can begin once the lockdown is lifted since currently there are difficulties involved in transportation of samples from different states and Union Territories, scientists said.

There are chances that people arriving in India from different countries are bringing various strains of the virus. Three strains of the virus have been traced in India so far. One was from Wuhan, and the other two from Italy and Iran. The sequence of the coronavirus strain from Iran was similar to that of China.

Also Read: Coronavirus Pandemic: Maharashtra to provide free health cover to all citizens under MPJAY

"It will take some time for us to know the predominant quasi-species of the novel coronavirus in the country. But mutations are not likely to make potential vaccines ineffective, as all sub-types of the virus have the same enzymes. Also, it has been in India for three months and it does not mutate very fast," Head of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases at ICMR Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar had said earlier.

The government on Friday also extended the nation-wide lockdown for two more weeks, with effect from May 4. The third phase of the lockdown will end on May 17, 2020. However, the government in its order said that the lockdown is extended with considerable relaxations. 

(With PTI Inputs)

Posted By: Talib Khan