What we know so far, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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New double mutant Covid-19 variant found in India: What we know so farNEW DELHI: A new double mutant Covid-19 variant has been found in India, said the government on Wednesday. Several Variants of Concerns (VOCs) have been found in India previously, however, the ministry of health said that the cases of new variants are limited in number.

The new double mutant variant was discovered by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) which has been carrying out genome sequencing on domestic samples and samples from international travellers.

Here is what we know so far:

* Compared to December 2020, Maharashtra has reported an increase in the fraction of samples with the E4840 and L452R mutations.

* Such mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity.

* These mutations have been found in about 15-20 per cent of samples and do not match any previously catalogued VOCs.

* While the two mutations have been categorized as VOCs but require implementation of existing protocols of “increased testing, comprehensive tracking and prompt isolation as well as treatment.”

* The VOCs found in India as well as the new double mutant variant is not seen as the reason behind the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in some states.

* The ministry said that these variants have not been detected in numbers sufficient to establish a direct relationship with the surge in cases in India.

* Genomic sequencing and epidemiological studies are continuing to further analyze the situation.

What are the other Covid-19 variants found in India

INSACOG has been carrying out genomic sequencing of circulating Covid-19 viruses and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants. As per INSACOG:

* As many as 771 VOCs have been detected in a total of 10,787 positive samples shared by the states/UTs across India.

* Among the Covid-19 variants found in India, 736 samples have tested positive for viruses of the UK (B.1.1.7) lineage, making it the most widespread variant in the country.

* 34 samples have tested positive for the South African (B.1.351) lineage while one sample was found positive for viruses of the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.

* The samples of the UK, South African and Brazilian VOCs have been identified in 18 states of the country.





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