Double mutant now most prevalent variant in India

Darnell Taylor
April 17, 2021

India is now battling a widespread surge in infections, with experts suspecting the most likely cause is the presence of more infectious variants, including the one detected in the country.

The Indian variant was first spotted by scientists in March when it was described by the government in New Delhi as a "double mutant". This would mean that any travellers arriving from India should be subjected to a hotel quarantine.

Public Health England confirmed yesterday in a routine report that 77 cases of the Indian variant had been found in the UK.

Specimens of the variant were first found in England in February, according to the Guardian.

The drop in prevalence in England followed a slight rise in estimated infections last week, as a sharp fall in cases which followed the start of England's third lockdown in January had levelled off in recent weeks.

Indian officials have designated the strain as a variant under investigation (VUI) rather than a variant of concern (VOC), such as the Manaus (Brazil) or South African variants.

As reported by the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), R-number was down from between 0.8 and one in the previous week.

"Surge testing without isolation support. The Prime Minister's in a different position from the rest of us, of course".

But she said even though it had already been detected, it did "not make going okay".

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"As you would expect, safety is obviously important and is a priority for us on this trip, which is why we will make sure that all elements of the visit are Covid-secure", the spokesman said.

People travelling to the United Kingdom from countries on the red list are not allowed into Britain unless they are residents or citizens. "And why isn't the govt acting?"

The variant, B.1.617 was first appeared in the country on December 2020.

Covid vaccines are still very effective at reducing the risk of serious illness and manufacturers plan to update their vaccines in response to the most worrying new variants. It is also thought it may be able to infect the body more easily.

The variant B.1.617 which first appeared in India on December 7, 2020, according to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), has two specific mutations - E484Q and L452R - that have been detected in more contagious variants worldwide, said Maria Van Kerkhove, the COVID-19 Technical Lead at World Health Organization, at a press conference here.

"We know now this can be one in three people and it therefore allows us to identify possible contacts of those people and ultimately helps us to reduce the spread and the transmission of the virus".

The release clarified that the RT PCR tests being used in India do not miss these mutations as the RTPCR tests being used in the country target more than two genes.

Hopes that South Asia might have beaten the pandemic have been dashed with India seeing over two million new cases this month alone and Bangladesh and Pakistan also imposing shutdowns.

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