Tuesday Dec 5, 2023
Tuesday Dec 5, 2023

India reports variants of novel coronavirus

2021 Mar 24, 17:16, Kathmandu
A health worker takes a nasal swab sample to test for COVID-19 at a market place in Mumbai, India, Thursday, March 18, 2021. Photo: AP via RSS

India has reported the detection of a new 'double mutant variant' of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry of India said on Wednesday.

The analysis carried out by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) established under the health ministry of India, on samples from arriving international travellers, contacts of those positive for VOC and community sample found mutations in the virus that do not match previously catalogued 'variants of concern' (VOC), the ministry said in a press statement issued today.

The analysis of samples from Maharashtra has revealed that there has been an increase in the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations in comparison to December last year. Such mutations have been reported to be conferring immune escape and increase infectivity. The mutations have been found in about 15 to 20 per cent of samples and do not match any previously catalogued VOCs. These have been categorised as VOCs but require the same epidemiological and public health response of increased testing, comprehensive tracking of close contacts, prompt isolation of positive cases and contacts as well as treatment as per National Treatment Protocol by the States/UTs.

Likewise, the Indian ministry said 2,032 samples have been sequenced from Kerala. The N440K variant has been found in 123 samples from 11 of the total 14 districts in the southern state. Earlier this variant was found in 33 per cent of samples collected from Andhra Pradesh and in 53 of 104 samples from Telangana. This variant has also been reported from 16 other countries including the UK, Denmark, Singapore, Japan and Australia.

Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states.

Meanwhile, India has reported 47,262 new infections in the last  24 hours, the highest since early November, taking its overall tally to 11.7 million. Only the United States and Brazil have higher caseloads.

Likewise, the death toll from COVID-19 in India in the previous 24 hours has risen to 275, the most this year, taking the total to 160,441, government data showed.

The vaccination in India ranks as the world's third-highest after the US and China.


double mutant variant India coronavirus cases Variants of concern VOC INSACOG Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium New variant of coronavirus in India variants of novel coronavirus
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