As India grapples with its second wave of Coronavirus, reports suggested that the extremely potent triple mutation strain of Coronavirus is being detected across various states in the country. As per reports, the COVID-19 triple mutation strain also known as the B.1.618 has been detected across 4 states in India namely-- Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, and Chhattisgarh.
Triple mutation occurs when three different strains combine together to form a new variant. It is important to mention that the COVID-19 triple mutation strain is plasma therapy ineffective.
Elaborating on the new variant of Coronavirus, Vinod Scaria, a Scientist at CSIR-Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) on Tuesday took to his Twitter handle sharing how it was an “immune escape variant.” According to him, the B.1.618 - a new lineage of SARS-CoV-2 predominantly found in India is characterized by a distinct set of genetic variants including E484K which is a major immune escape variant. This lineage is characterized by a 6 nt deletion (H146del &Y145del), apart from E484K and D614G in spike protein.
Initial sequences in the B.1.618 lineage were found in West Bengal, India.— Vinod Scaria (@vinodscaria) April 20, 2021
Members of this lineage is also found in other parts of the world, https://t.co/bDILPoA9Ku but do not have the full complement of variants as found in India pic.twitter.com/qBLzwElbML
"There are many unknowns for this lineage at this moment including its capability to cause reinfections as well as vaccine breakthrough infections. Additional experimental data is also required to assess the efficacy of vaccines against this variant," said Scaria.
The scientist also asserted that E484K can escape multiple mAbs as well as panels of convalescent plasma. This means infection through this variant makes plasma therapy ineffective. This raises alarm amid the already existing B.1.617 (double mutant strain) which was found to be a cause of the surging cases of COVID-19 in Maharashtra.
India on Thursday recorded over 3.14 lakh new infections pushing the country's Coronavirus tally to 1,59,30,965, according to the Union Health Ministry. Over 3,14,835 fresh infections were registered in a span of 24 hours and the death toll increased to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 new fatalities. The nation is currently battling 22,91,428 active cases comprising 14.38 per cent of the total infections. The recovery rate has dropped to 84.46 per cent. On the COVID vaccine front, over 13.23 Crore doses administered.