New Double Mutant: The rising number of COVID-19 cases in Indian has become a subject of concern since the vaccine roll out in the country saw a promising start.
The Health Ministry on Wednesday said that a new “double mutant variant” of coronavirus has been detected in 18 states across the country. They are in addition to other variants and strains which were also detected in foreign countries. The ministry has also said that the new variants of concern (VOCs) have not been detected in sufficient numbers to explain the rising number of cases in some states.
— Ministry of Health (@MoHFW_INDIA) March 24, 2021
Here’s what we know of the new double mutant and the other VOCs:
- The Indian SARS-COV-2 Consortium on Genomics ( INSACOG) is a group of 10 national laboratories in India that work towards finding genomic variants of the coronavirus. According to their report, 771 variants of concern have been found in 10787 positive COVID-19 samples collected from states and union territories.
- Out of the sample collected, 736 were found positive of the UK variant which is also called B.1.1.7
- 34 samples were positive of the South African lineage (B.1.351) and 1 sample detected P.1 variant which of Brazilian lineage.
- All of the detected VOCs were found in samples collected from 18 states of the country.
- The Health Ministry in its press release also said that since December 2020, samples from Maharashtra have shown an increased number of E484Q and L452R mutations. These mutations according to the ministry are highly infective and show immune escape. The minister said that these two mutations do not match the one detected in the past but the same precautionary measures are needed to stop its infection which is testing, isolation and tracing contacts.
- The samples collected from Kerala’s all 14 districts showed the presence of a variant called N440K and it was also found in samples from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana earlier. The same variant was detected on 16 countries of the world such UK, Singapore, Demark and Australia. As of now, the variant is still under investigation, according to the ministry.
- As of Wednesday, 47,262 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the country along with 275 deaths which the highest number recorded in the last 132 days. Since the last 14 days, the number of cases has been growing every day in the country.
- Even though there is no official government order for further lockdowns, some states such as Punjab and Maharashtra are considering imposing one in light of the increasing number of positive cases.