While several parts of the world, including India, have been dealing with new waves of the coronavirus. And one of the biggest challenges has also been the new strains. The government on Wednesday announced that a new coronavirus variant has been detected in India.
This comes amid a new surge of Covid-19 cases across several states in the country. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a grouping of 10 National Laboratories that was established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfares, found the variant while carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating Covid-19 viruses.
—— The INSACOG said that it found an increase in samples with E484Q and L452R mutations — a double mutant variant with two mutations. This means two mutations coming together in the same variant creating a new one.
—— Both the E484Q and L452R mutations have been detected earlier, but the ‘double mutant variant’ is novel to India.
—— The E484Q has been detected in 11 countries earlier including US, UK, Denmark and Switzerland. The L452R mutation has also been detected previously in 22 countries including New Zealand, Sweden, Australia.
—— The new variant has been categorised as a ‘variant of concern’ or VOCs.
—— The new ‘double mutant variant’ and 771 VOCs were found in samples collected from 18 states across the country.
—— Hindustan Times quoted National Centre for Disease Control’s director Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh as saying, “We have seen this double mutant E484Q and L452R. This is the double mutant which has been observed in 206 samples in Maharashtra and then in a varied number in Delhi, nine samples, and so on.” He also said the variant was seen in samples from Nagpur.
—— While the new Indian variant of the Covid-19 virus has been detected, the experts have said there was not enough evidence or numbers to show that this was behind the latest rise in Covid-19 cases in India.
—— The INSACOG tested a total of 10,787 positive samples from states and union territories among which 771 VOCs were found.
—— Data shared by the government showed that among the samples 736 were positive for the UK variant, 34 for the South African variant and one for the Brazilian variant.
—— Experts have suggested a public health response of “increased testing, comprehensive tracking of close contacts, prompt isolation of positive cases & contacts as well as treatment as per National Treatment Protocol” by the states/UTs as standard procedure to tackle the situation.