Double mutant now most prevalent COVID-19 variant in India: report

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NEW DELHI, April 17 (Xinhua) — The double mutated virus, B.1.617, is becoming the most prevalent among all the mutant COVID-19 variants in India, a local media report said Saturday.

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The report quoted genome sequencing data submitted by Indian scientists to a global database as saying that the double mutation virus, which has been found in several countries, was the most common in the samples sequenced in the 60 days prior to April 2 at 24 percent.

“The B.1.617 variant, first detected in Maharashtra, contains mutations from two separate virus variants – E484Q and L452R,” the report said.

As per the assessment by scientists from Scripps Research, the variant first found in Britain, B.1.1.7, accounting for 13 percent of the samples, is the second most prevalent.

The report said as on April 15, out of 13,614 Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) samples processed in labs, 1,189 samples tested positive for variants of concern for SARS COV-2 in India.

This included 1,109 samples with the variant first found in Britain, 79 samples with variant first found in South African and one sample with the variant first found in Brazil, the report said.

Recently, health experts said the double mutant variant may be less dangerous than expected as the most vulnerable patients are having only mild illnesses.

“The experts emphasised that as per the current evidence, new variants are observed from few states. But, details about its epidemiology are yet to be known,” the report said.

India is witnessing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

The federal health ministry on Saturday morning said 234,692 new COVID-19 cases, yet another record high daily spike, and 1,341 related deaths were registered in the past 24 hours across the country.


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