New Delhi: Authorities have confirmed a new double mutant Covid-19 variant in India, which could supposedly be responsible for sudden spike in the Coronavirus cases, as per the government on Wednesday. In addition to it, several Variants of Concerns (VOCs) have been found in 18 states/UTs across India, said the ministry of health.
The ministry, however, didn’t sufficiently established yet if these variants were behind the recent spike in Covid-19 cases in some states but it could have contributed to the rate of infection.
This 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 as well as from international travellers’ samples.
-Compared to December 2020, Maharashtra has reported an increase in the fraction of samples with the E4840 and L452R mutations.
-These mutations have been found in about 15-20 per cent of samples and do not match any previously catalogued Variants of Concerns (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.”
-Such mutations causes immune escape and increased infectivity.
-The Variants of Concerns 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 Health 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.
INSACOG has been carrying out genomic sequencing of circulating Covid-19 viruses and correlating epidemiological trends with genomic variants.
-So far, as many as 771 VOCs have been detected in a total of 10,787 positive samples shared by the states/UTs across the country.
-Among the Covid-19 variants found in India, 736 samples were tested positive for viruses of the UK (B.1.1.7) lineage, making it the most widespread variant in the country till date.
-Whereas at least 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 also been identified in 18 states of the country.