India recognizes AY.1 variant, with links to Beta and Delta strains
India officially recognized on Tuesday that another variant of the coronavirus, called AY.1 or B.1.617.2.1, had emerged, The Hindu reported.
The variant was first identified in March in Europe, said VK Paul, chair of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 in India. He was addressing a press briefing on the coronavirus situation in the country.
Paul called the new variant “Delta Plus” and added that details of the strain had been submitted to the Global Data System, after being released into the public domain on June 13, ANI reported.
“It’s an interesting variant, it has not yet been classified as a variant of concern,” said Paul. “We will study and learn more about this variant. “
NITI member Aayog (health) added that while the continued mutation of the coronavirus was a biological fact, action needed to be taken to curb the spread of the virus. He also said the mutant strain was found to nullify the use of monoclonal antibodies, which have recently been used to treat high-risk coronavirus patients.
AY.1, or B.1.617.2.1, has a mutation called K417N which is linked to high infectivity (the ability of a pathogen to establish infection) and has been associated with the beta variant, first identified in South Africa. AY.1 is also closely associated with B.1.617.2, or Delta variant, first detected in India.
Five Indian laboratories submitted data on this variant in May and June to GISAID, a global repository of genomic data on the influenza virus, The Hindu reported. Evidence of the mutant has been found in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Karnataka, according to the newspaper.
The Delta variant, which has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, was responsible for the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, a government study showed earlier this month. The variant has also led to an increase in cases in the UK, accounting for the majority of new infections. The country’s health body, Public Health England, found the strain to be 60% more transmissible in households than the Alpha variant, first detected in the UK county of Kent.
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