Can the double mutant Covid-19 variant reverse India’s pandemic gains?
- A new double mutant coronavirus variant has been detected in several Indian states, triggering fear that India’s “second wave” could be more dangerous than the first.
- In addition, authorities have reported several other variants in at least 18 states amid a surge in coronavirus infections across the country.
The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) is carrying out genomic sequencing on the latest samples of the double mutant variant. A total of 736 cases of the variant first discovered in the UK, 34 of the one from South Africa and one case of the variant from Brazil have been traced in the country, Sujeet Kumar Singh, the director of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
What is a double mutant variant?
- An analysis of samples collected from the western state of Maharashtra shows a rise in E484Q and L452R mutations since December.
- Double mutation happens when two mutated variants of a virus come together to form a third variant.
- The L452R variant was first found in the US, whereas the E484Q variant is indigenous.
- This double mutant could be a major reason behind the upsurge in Covid cases, but we need to wait for test results to determine if it is the case.
Concerns about possible reinfections:
- Scientists say the emergence of Covid variants in India was not unexpected.
- Health experts worry that the double mutation could allow the virus to escape the body’s immune system, making itself more resistant to antibodies.
- There is also a possibility that it can reinfect patients who have already recovered from Covid-19.
- The virus might also be able to defend itself against the vaccines currently in use.