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Explained: What Is India’s 'Double Mutant' Coronavirus?

The double mutant strain of Coronavirus has been named B.1.617.

Explained: What Is India’s 'Double Mutant' Coronavirus?
Representational image. | AP/PTI Photo
Explained: What Is India’s 'Double Mutant' Coronavirus?
outlookindia.com
2021-04-16T09:22:59+05:30

The exponential rise in Covid cases in India has become a cause of concern for the government as well as those studying the nature of the virus. The daily Covid-19 cases in India breached the 2 lakh mark on April 15th for the first time. With a high number of people getting infected with the virus, the chances of mutant strains have also increased.

Recently, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) detected a strain of coronavirus with a double mutation in samples collected from Maharashtra. The double mutant strain of Coronavirus has been named B.1.617.

Here’s everything you need to know about the double mutant strain.

What does the strain contain?

The B.1.617 variant contains mutations from two separate virus variants, namely E484Q and L452R. The double mutant strain was found in samples of saliva collected from Maharashtra, Punjab, and Delhi.

According to health experts, the L452R variant was first found in the US, whereas the E484Q variant is indigenous.

The double mutant variant was identified by carrying out genomic sequencing on the latest samples by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a group of 10 national laboratories under India's health ministry.

How dangerous is a double mutant strain?

A virus keeps mutating as it spreads,and like others, the novel coronavirus keeps changing in small ways as it passes from one person to another.

The constituent mutated strains E484Q and L452R were found to be highly infective with high transmission rates. Thus they make B.1.617 more infectious and deadly.

According to the health ministry, the new variant could also increase infection rates and easily surpass immune defences.

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