India has successfully cultured the new coronavirus strain, which originated in the United Kingdom, the Indian Council of Medical Research said on Saturday.
In a tweet, the ICMR claimed that no country has yet reported successful isolation and culture of the UK-variant of SARS-CoV-2.
Culture is the process by which cells are grown under controlled conditions, generally outside their natural environment.
"UK-variant of the virus, with all signature changes, is now successfully isolated and cultured at the National Institute of Virology from the clinical specimens collected from UK-returnees," the ICMR said.
The research body said vero cell lines were used by the scientists of ICMR-NIV to culture the UK-variant of the virus.
The UK had recently announced that the newly identified strain of the virus found in their population was up to 70 per cent more infectious.
A total of 29 people have tested positive for the new UK variant of SARS-CoV-2 in India so far, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.