Indian double mutant behind second wave: Lab consortium


Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Indian double mutant of Covid-19, B.1.617, is possibly behind the second wave of the pandemic in India and is driving the surge in some of the states with the high caseload, according to the latest genome analysis by the Centre’s surveillance group.

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), a consortium of 10 national labs, found that as on May 5, there were 3,900 variants of concern (VoCs)/variant under investigation (VUI). Of them, 1,850 (B.1.617), 1,922 (B1.1.7-UK variant), 127 (B.1.351- South African variant) and 1 (P1). 

“The current surge in cases show a correlation with the rise in the B.1.617 lineage of Covid-19. The B1.617 lineage has been seen in Maharashtra. The B1.1.7 lineage is declining in proportion across the country in the last 1.5 months,” it said. According to a scientist part of INSACOG, the B.1.617 has already taken over the UK variant cases in India and is driving the second wave in the country.

The analysis shows that the double mutant is driving the surge in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. “It is likely in other states also that are having high caseloads but we will have more clarity after we get a good number of sequenced data from other states,” said the scientist.

In India, the B.1.617 continues to be listed as VUI. However, the UK on Friday announced one of its sub-lineages, B.1.617.2 as a VOC, following the rise in the case in the UK and evidence of community transmission.

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