Double Mutant Coronavirus Variant in India
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Health & GS-III – Sci and Tech
- A unique “double mutant” coronavirus variant — with a combination of mutations not seen anywhere else in the world — has been found in India.
- However, it is still to be established if this has any role to play in increased infectivity or in making COVID-19 more severe.
- Genome sequencing of a section of virus samples by a consortium of 10 laboratories across India, (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics – INSACOG), revealed the presence of two mutations, E484Q and L452R together, in at least 200 virus samples.
- Mutations in the virus per se are not surprising.
- Mutations that eliminate the effect of vaccines or the immune system or lead to increased cases are bigger causes of concern.
- These two mutations have been individually identified in other variants of SARS-CoV-2 globally
- They are also associated with a reduction in vaccine efficacy.
- Their combined effect and biological implications have not yet been understood.
- In the days ahead, the INSACOG will submit details of this variant to a global repository called GISAID and, if it merits, classify it as a “variant of concern” (VOC).
Do you know?
- So far, only three global VOCs have been identified: the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), the South African (B.1.351) and the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.