The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium of Genomics (INSACOG), which is continuously conducting genome sequencing of SARS-Cov-2 virus, has identified that a new double mutant Covid-19 strain is widely spreading across India, which is a big cause of concern among the healthcare experts and general public in particular.
According to a statement released by the consortium, the novel double mutation variant of the SARS-Cov-2 was found in Maharashtra and 18 other states, which is spreading widely, because of this, India is witnessing huge spike in new Covid-19 cases across the country, it observed.
As it is known that the Union ministry of health and family welfare had established the INSACOG earlier in December, wherein it had grouped 10 leading national laboratories across the country together for conducting continuous research and genome sequence of the SARS-Cov-2 virus to identify the changing mutations in the Covid-19 virus prevailing across the country. Based on this, the INSACOG has now identified that the novel coronavirus which is currently prevailing in the country is a double mutant variant and is widely spreading in some of the states.
It is understood that for carrying out the genomic sequencing and analysis of circulating Covid-19 viruses and to correlate the epidemiological trends, the INSACOG had collected 10,787 samples across various states from India and identified 771 variants of concerns (VOCs). Of this 736 samples were identified to be positive for UK (B.1.1.7) virus and as many as 34 samples were found positive for viruses of the South African (B.1.351) variant. One sample was found positive for viruses of Brazilian lineage.
The INSACOG statement also revealed that the Covid-19 samples collected from Maharashtra are found to be having Covid-19 mutations of E484Q and L452R. These mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity.
From Kerala, as many as 2,032 samples were collected and the genomic sequences of all these samples have revealed that the N4450K mutant variant is widely spreading, which is also associated with immune escape. The same variant of mutated virus is also found spreading in the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.