Mapping of SARS-CoV-2 spike protein evolution during the first and second waves of COVID-19 infections in India
The aim of this study was to investigate the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein evolution during the first and second wave of COVID-19 infections in India. Materials & methods: Detailed mutation analysis was done in 763 samples taken from GISAID for the ten most affected Indian states between March 2020 to August 2021. Results: The study revealed 242 mutations corresponding to 207 sites. Fifty-one novel mutations emerged during the assessment period, including many with higher transmissibility and immune evasion functions. Highest number of mutations per spike protein also rose from 5 (first wave) to 13 (second wave). Conclusion: The study identified mutation-rich and no mutation regions in the spike protein. The conserved spike regions can be useful for designing future diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.