PGIMER confirms presence of double mutant B.1.617 variant

Chandigarh: Reports of sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 from 23 nasopharyngeal swab samples of Covid-19 patients sent from PGIMER in Chandigarh were received on Thursday from NCDC in New Delhi, the hospital said on Sunday.

The presence of the double mutant B.1.617 variant having the signature mutations L452R and E484Q has been confirmed in 22 per cent (5/23) of the samples after sequencing, said Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER.

He further stated that the B.1.617 variant first identified in India last year has been found in more than 40 countries and has recently been classified as a “variant of concern” (VOC) by World Health Organization (WHO).

It has been found by researchers that the mutations in the double-mutant strain render it to be more transmissible and vaccine -induced antibodies are somewhat less potent in neutralizing this variant.

“The surge of cases during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic has somewhat been attributed to the B.1.617 variant strain”, added Ram.

Giving further details on the findings, the Director said in a statement, “Of the other samples, the UK variant B.1.1.7 which is also a VOC and associated with higher transmissibility was found in 39 per cent (9/23) samples.

“The UK variant B.1.1.7 carries the signature mutations N501Y, P681H, 69/70 D f the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”


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