Double Mutant COVID-19 Variant Discovered in India

Indian authorities have now confirmed that a “double mutant” Covid-19 variant has been detected in the country, the health ministry reported. 

The ministry said that the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) discovered two mutations in a single variant, which has not yet been recorded in the country. 

The INSACOG said that analysis of samples taken from Maharashtra showed that “there has been an increase in the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations,” compared to December last year. 

“Such mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity. These mutations have been found in about 15-20% of samples and do not match any previously catalogued VOCs (variants of concern),” the ministry said. 

However, the government says the variant cannot be linked to the surge in the cases of some states, and that further genomic sequencing and epidemiological studies are still ongoing. 

“Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some States,” the ministry said.

INSACOG also reported that 771 VOCs have been detected in the 10,787 positive samples they analyzed, with 736 of it containing the UK variant. 

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