Double Mutant' COVID Variant Found In India
image source: www.bbc.com
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India has detected a new double mutant variant of the novel coronavirus. The researchers are recently working on whether the two mutants are more serious in nature.

What Is A Double Mutant?

The double mutant is a variant where two mutations come together in the same virus. These two mutations can be more infectious or less affected by the vaccines. The majority of these mutations do not have any effect on the way the virus behaves.

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However, some mutations can trigger the change in spike protein. A protein that can help attach and enter the human cells. Hence, these variants can increase disease rate and a lack of response to the vaccine.

Double Mutant' COVID Variant Found In India
image source: www.bbc.com

Genome sequencing and analysis of samples from Maharashtra state found mutations in the virus that did not match previously cataloged “variants of concern” (VOC), the ministry said in a statement. “Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant are found in India, they are not detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states. The ministry added. However, according to the reports, the variant is not related to a spike in India’s cases.

India has recently reported various cases of the mutant from Britain and also for South Africa and Brazil. The number of deaths from Covid-19 in India in the previous 24 hours rose to 275, the most this year, taking the total to 160,441, government data showed. The government has forced a ban against large crowds ahead of Holi amidst the coronavirus situation.

Can This Be The Reason Behind the Second Wave?

India reported 47,262 cases and 275 deaths on Wednesday, which is the sharpest daily rise this year. Dr. Rakesh Mishra, director of the Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), stated that the “double-variant” is already found in 20% the cases in Maharashtra, which has seen a huge spike in reported infections.

“One suspicion is that this variant is the cause of India’s second wave of infections. I would say no. 80% of the samples we have sequenced don’t have this mutant combination. This mutant is now linked to only 230 cases in Maharashtra of the several thousand samples sequenced,” he said.

Double Mutant' COVID Variant Found In India
image source: www.bbc.com

The Culprit Behind the Second Wave 

According to the Doctors, more worrisome is the UK or the Kent variant (also known as B.1.1.7). This variant is now dominant in much of Britain and has spread to more than 50 countries. A total of 736 of the 10,787 samples sequenced in India have been found positive for this variant than the double mutant.

This variant is more likely to contribute to an “intense second wave,” Dr. Kamil says. (According to studies, it is over 50% more transmissible and 60% more lethal. 1.6 deaths for every one death caused by the previous version of the virus.)”However, mostly it is going to be human behavior that drives a second wave,” Dr. Kamil says.

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