With the second wave of coronavirus, daily cases have exceeded over the 1.5 lakh mark in India. We have also now surpassed Brazil to become the second-worst affected country by coronavirus globally.
But along with the rising cases and growing vaccine hesitancy, our country has a double mutant coronavirus strain which is also called B.1.617. So, here’s everything you need to know about it :
What is double mutant coronavirus and how was it identified?
Identified first in India in December 2020, this strain carries markings of two different virus mutations namely E484Q and L452R which is a double whammy. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) which includes a group of 10 national laboratories under India’s health ministry identified this strain after carrying out genomic sequencing on the latest samples.
Over 771 variants of concerns (VOCs) were detected in a total of 10,787 positive samples which was shared by 18 states of the country. Where 736 samples were from the UK, 34 samples were from South Africa. 1 sample was found positive for viruses of Brazil.
Where has this strain been found?
Despite the surge in Covid-19 cases, the double mutant virus has been identified in 5 states which includes Maharashtra, Delhi and Punjab. Globally, this strain has been found in the UK, Denmark, Singapore, Japan and Australia.
How dangerous is it?
E484Q and L452R mutations separately have been circulating across the globe for a while and have high infectivity and transmission rates. So, now that these two viruses have merged together it is way more deadly.
According to ToI, the spike protein attaches itself to the human cells and then invade the organs. Now, variants of the strain alter the very structure of the spike protein, thus making it easier to attach with the human host cells and multiplying faster, causing scarier infection bout.
The Health Ministry has also issued a statement saying that the new variant could also increase infection rates and easily surpass immune defences, “Such mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity,” the ministry said.
Though health experts are still trying to learn more about this new strain, it is advisable to take all the precautions.
Feature source : NDTV