India: Discovery of ‘double mutant’ strain – New variant of Covid raises alarm as cases rise World | News

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 India: Discovery of 'double mutant' strain - New variant of Covid raises alarm as cases rise World |  News


The SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) in India, a group of 10 national laboratories under the country’s Ministry of Health, performed genomic sequencing of the samples.
This is a testing process that details the entire genetic code of an organism.

Of the 10,787 samples collected, 736 were positive for the British variant, 34 for the South African variant and one for the Brazilian variant.

The Indian government said analysis of samples taken from the western state of Maharashtra shows “an increase in the fraction of samples with E484Q and L452R mutations” compared to December.
The Health Ministry said in a statement: “Such [double] mutations confer immune leakage and increased infectivity. ”

India is fighting in its battle against a new surge in coronavirus cases.

The country reported 47,262 cases and 275 deaths in the most recent 24-hour period on Wednesday – the highest since the start of November.

India is ranked third in the world in terms of countries with the most coronavirus infections – only behind the United States and Brazil.

The country has administered nearly 50 million doses of the vaccine to date – only third behind the United States and China, but its ranking declines when measured on a per capita basis, according to statistics from the Our World in Data website.

But the Indian government insisted there was no link between the recent surge in Covid cases and the new variants that were detected.

The Ministry of Health added: “Although VOCs [variants of concern] and a new double mutant variant was found in India, these were not detected in sufficient numbers to establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states. ”

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India has become one of the first countries to sequence the genome of the novel coronavirus after isolating it from some of the first cases recorded in the country over a year ago.

But since then, 11.7 million cases and 160,000 deaths from Covid have been recorded.

The latest spike in infection came at a time when some experts warned it was a ‘delicate phase’ for India, with the healthcare system already overwhelmed by the intense battle against the pandemic .

The Indian government has responded by reimposing strict restrictions in a number of states, including curfews and intermittent lockdowns in a desperate attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Delhi and Mumbai, two of India’s largest cities, have also stepped up random rapid tests at airports, train stations and overcrowded areas such as busy shopping malls.

A number of states have announced bans on large gatherings ahead of the Hindu Holi festival this weekend.

The Department of Health is warning states to restrict public viewing of festivals.

The ministry said in a statement: “Any laxity at this stage to ensure strict adherence to contain the spread of COVID-19, may result in the loss of momentum and advantages that our country has gained so far in the virus management. ”

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