India, on Tuesday, reported four cases of South Africa variant strain of coronavirus and one case of Brazil variant strain, Asian News International (ANI) reported.

Dr Balram Bhargava, Deputy General of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), during the weekly press conference on the pandemic condition in India, stated that all four patients with the South African variant were returnees from the African continent – one each from Angola and Tanzania and two from South Africa itself. All travellers and their contacts have been tested and quarantined.

He shared that the Council is attempting to isolate and culture the South African variant of SARS-CoV-2, according to ANI.

Similarly, another case of Brazilian variant was detected in the first week of February. The virus strain was successfully isolated and cultured at the Council's National Institute of Virology in Pune.

Dr Bhargava noted that the South African and Brazilian variants are different than the UK variant. He added that Indian vaccines have the potential to neutralize the effect of the UK variant. However, further experiments are required to assess vaccine effectiveness on the new variant, and those experiments are said to be underway.

According to ANI's report, the country has as many as 187 UK-variant patients, all of whom and their contacts have been quarantined and treated.

The South African variant was first observed in mid-December 2020 and has spread to 44 countries while the Brazilian variant emerged there independently in early January 2021.