The double mutant strain of coronavirus found in 10 states could be responsible for faster spread and the rising number of infections, the health ministry has said. A genome sequencing expert told PTI news agency on Thursday that he found a double mutation in 61 per cent of the total 361 COVID-19 samples tested between January and March this year.
Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, and Karnataka are among the states where double mutant strains have been detected, according to a report in NDTV. Experts also say that there is no 100 per cent proof that only the double mutant is causing the rise in cases.
What is double mutation?
The double mutation happens when two mutated strains of a virus come together and form a third strain. In India, E484Q and L452R are the two mutated strains that have combined and form a new strain, now classified as B.1.617. The L452R mutation was found in California in the United States and the E484Q mutation was found in the UK and South Africa.
As per scientists, such mutations are not rare and keep on happening as the virus spreads from place to place. However, they warn that mutations can make the virus stronger and capable of evading neutralising antibodies.In some cases, the mutated virus can even infect those who have already recovered from coronavirus, though the number may not be high. The more it evades antibodies, the more it penetrates the herd immunity, thereby increasing the infection rate.
Can double mutation evade vaccines?
There is no confirmed data to back this. Some people have indeed been infected after the first dose, but there is no data on whether their samples were sent for genome sequencing.