Coronavirus's double mutant grips South India: Scientist

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Double Mutant (Image: Pixabay)
Double Mutant (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi : The B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus, also known as the double mutant, is gripping south India fast, scientists at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) said on Tuesday.

Former CCMB director Rakesh Mishra on Tuesday said that the double mutant is dominating Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and now Telangana.

Last year, scientists had researched over 5000 variants and found that N440K was spreading more in the southern state. Now, it has been found that B.1.617 variant is now replacing N440K.

Divya Tej Sowpati, a scientist with the CCMB, tweeted: "Lineages with #N440K are NOT the dominant ones in the second wave of #Covid19inIndia. While N440K was indeed a mutation of concern in South India during and after the first wave, current data shows that it is essentially replaced by new VoCs such as #B1617 and #B117."

"In KL, though not much data is available on GISAID, we can see from that B.1.1.7 is increasing at present, whereas N440K is present in <20% of the genomes."

"Also, it is important to remember that just because a variant behaves a certain way in cell cultures (with no competition, and in controlled settings), it does not mean it will behave the same way in humans, or in a complicated pandemic scenario," Mr Sowpati tweeted.

The second wave in India has struck hard. More than 3 lakh new coronavirus cases are being registered in the country from past couple of days. On Tuesday, the nation registered 3.89 new coronavirus cases. 3,780 new fatalities have been recorded in the same duration.