Covid-19: ‘Double Mutant’ Variant Detected In India

Amidst the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, scientists found a new double mutant variant of the Coronavirus in several parts of India.

Scientists of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a group of 10 national laboratories under India’s health ministry, carried out the genome sequencing on the latest samples and found two mutations, E484Q and L452R, occur together in the same virus.

Though mutations are common in viruses, some like the ones in UK and South Africa variant lineages, can make the virus more infectious and even deadlier.

It is being feared that the double mutant variant has the potential to escape the immune system, developed either by natural infection or vaccination.

The new strain was found in 15-10 per cent samples but officials said that it is not sufficient to establish direct relationship or explain the surge in number of Covid-19 cases in some states.

Genomic sequencing is still on to understand the effects of double mutation in the virus. India is the fifth country in the world to sequence the genome of novel Coronavirus after isolating it from some of the first cases, recorded in January last year.

Officials said the new “Indian strain” does not match any previously catalogued Variants of Concern (VOC). Over 771 variants of concerns VOCs have been detected in a total of 10,787 positive samples shared by states and UTs.