Amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the country, the Health Ministry on Wednesday said that a new ‘double mutant variant’ of the deadly virus has been found in 18 states. Many other variants of concern (VOCs) have also been detected, the ministry said.
The government, however, underlined that it was too early to say that the new variant was behind the second wave of cases across the country.
“Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish or direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some States. Genomic sequencing and epidemiological studies are continuing to further analyze the situation,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The analysis of samples from Maharashtra has revealed that compared to December 2020, there has been an increase in the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations. Such mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity. These mutations have been found in about 15-20% of samples and do not match any previously catalogued VOCs,” the statement said.
India recorded 47,262 fresh coronavirus cases in a day, the highest single-day rise so far this year, taking the nationwide COVID-19 tally to 1,17,34,058. the health ministry said.
States like Maharashtra, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh are reporting a high number of cases. National capital Delhi is also witnessing a spike in cases after a brief downward trend.