A new B.1.618 COVID-19 mutant found in West Bengal, makes plasma therapy ineffective: Report

As India approaches the second wave of COVID-19, reports of a double mutation are emerging. At a time when the dangerous surge in COVID-19 cases is taking a toll on the health infrastructure, a triple mutant of COVID-19 was discovered in West Bengal that is said to be an immune escape variant.

Vinod Scaria, Scientist at CSIR-Institute for Integrative Genomics and Biology (CSIR-IGIB) on Tuesday took to his Twitter handle to elaborate on the new variant of Coronavirus found in increasing numbers in West Bengal.

New mutant, reason for surge in COVID-19 cases in West Bengal?

Quoting a report he says, B.1.618 is a new lineage of SARS-CoV-2 with a specific set of genetic variants including E484K, which is responsible for the immune escape quality in the new variant. Members of this dynasty are found in other parts of the world including the US, Switzerland, Singapore and Finland.

The Scientist claimed that E484K can escape several mAbs as well as panels of recovery plasma. This means that the infection through this variant makes plasma therapy ineffective.

He said that the variant COVID-19 B.1.618 is growing significantly in West Bengal, where assembly elections are underway with the remaining three of the eight phases to be held on April 22, 26 and 29 The political parties have now decided to either stop or hold political rallies or restrict the crowds at a particular rally in order to pursue adequate physical distance.

Vinod Scaria has further added that little is known about this type of virus at present in terms of its ability to cause redefinitions and its potency against the vaccines. Although Vinod Scaria said that there is no conclusive evidence that this mutant is the cause of the West Bengal epidemic apart from the fact that the numbers and proportions of this strain have been increasing significantly in recent months , more focused epidemiological investigations would address these questions.

This is alarming after the discovery of the B.1.617 (double mutant strain) in Maharashtra which, according to state officials, was likely the reason for the alarming rise in outbreaks in the state. The National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune study showed that more than 60 percent of Covid cases in Maharashtra have the double mutant variant. The study was done from the data recorded between January and March. According to the study, the sequenced genome had the double mutation E484Q and L452R, which is now classified as a B.1.617 dynasty.

It is important to note that a virus is bound to pass when it multiplies and passes from one person to another over a period of time. Dr Nitin Nagarkar, director of AIIMS Raipur has noted that some mutation will either make a virus stronger or weaker, but with the COVID-19 mutation, it was discovered that even the youngsters, who had less effect with previous strain COVID The virus mutation affected -19.

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