Triple Mutation Variant Of Covid-19 Discovered In India
With various strains of covid-19 being discovered and the country’s healthcare system on the verge of collapsing, a new triple mutation variant in B.1.617 strain has been detected in four Indian states: Maharashtra, West Bengal, Delhi and Chattisgarh. The discovery is worrisome as the country is already fighting a ferocious second wave of novel coronavirus, and the new strain might aggravate India’s covid crisis more.
Reportedly, the Health Ministry was given a hint that the double mutant variant is developing another mutation and can become a triple mutant. The newly detected variant has made West Bengal its hotspot, and the strain is capable of worsening the covid crisis in the country.
What Is Mutation?
Not just coronavirus, but every virus goes through mutation; it keeps changing itself as it passes from one person to another. The covid-19 strain that affected India in 2020 is no longer the same; it has been undergoing genetic mutations ever since it emerged. The new mutations can be called variants or strains.
In simpler terms, three different covid strains have combined with each other to form a new variant, a triple mutation variant.
Professor of Epidemiology at McGill University, Madhukar Pai, said, “This is a more transmissible variant. It is making lots of people sick very quickly; We have to keep tweaking vaccines. For that, we need to understand the disease. But we need sequencing on war footing.”
Is The New Variant More Contagious?
According to experts, new mutations in the novel coronavirus is the real reason behind the fresh infection cases all over the world. Studies must be done to see how deadly and contagious the triple mutation variant is. Currently, the double mutant is affecting the younger generation more.
It is still to be seen if the triple mutation variant is a ‘variant of concern’ or not.
Will The Vaccines Work Against The New Variant?
The triple mutation variant is made from three different strains, two of them have shown immune bypass responses, which increases their resistibility against antibodies. However, we still don’t have a lot of information about the new variant, so nothing can be said about the effectiveness of vaccines on the triple mutation variant.
The statement issued by the health ministry read: ‘The UK variant has been found extensively in the UK, all across Europe and has spread to Asia and America. The double mutation [two mutations] is another variant and has been found in several countries like Australia, Belgium, Germany, Ireland, Namibia, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the USA. Higher transmissibility of this variant is not established as yet.’
What Can Be Done?
It is vital to study the genetic structures to know more about the new variants of the virus; that is why experts are calling for genome sequencing. More sequencing will give more information that can be used to develop vaccines and drugs in order to control the pandemic.