What is Double Mutant Corona Virus Variant?

The National Institute of Virology recently shared a data showing the break up of 361 genome sequenced samples that were collected between January and March 2021.

Key Findings

  • The study detected the presence of double mutation in almost 61% of the samples collected in Maharashtra.
  • The double mutant has been classified as B.1.617 recently.

What is Double Mutant Corona Virus Variant?

  • It is a variant of Corona Virus that carries two mutations namely E484Q and L452R. They have been reported together for the first time in India.
  • The mutation in E484Q is similar to E484K mutation. The E484K mutation was found in UK and South Africa.
  • The L452R mutation was found spreading rapidly in California. This mutation increases the binding power of the spike protein of the virus. This makes the virus more transmissible. Also, it enhances viral replication.
  • India recently became the second most COVID-19 infected country in world. This was mainly due to the double mutant variant as they spread faster.
  • The transmission of the mutant is 20% greater than the other mutant varieties of COVID-19.
  • It reduces the antibody efficacy by more than 50%.

B.1.617

The B.1.617, that is, the double mutant corona virus variant was first reported in Maharashtra. In February 2021, around eighteen districts of Maharashtra reported about the variant.

Immune Escape

Immune Escape is the ability of the pathogen to evade immunity response of human bodies. In simple words, the antibodies created after vaccination may not protect a person from getting infected. If the new double mutant variant shows immune escape, it will have deep ramifications for the vaccination programmes of India.

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