The National Institute of Virology (NIV) shared data of 361 genome-sequenced Covid-19 samples from Maharashtra taken from January-March this year and revealed that around 61 per cent of them turned out to have the double mutation E484Q and L452R.
Back in March, the central government had disclosed that around 15-20 per cent samples from the state had the highly-transmissible double mutation.
However, it had refrained from linking the same to the current spike of Covid-19 infections in Maharashtra. The double mutation is now classified as the B.1.617 lineage containing E484Q and L452R and both of them together result in being more infectious and transmissible but less virulent.
It was detected the highest in samples from Akola (85.2 per cent) and Amravati (69.3 per cent) respectively. Moreover, the health officials from Maharashtra have asked for quicker turnaround of genome sequencing, possibly within three days itself.
Dr Shashank Joshi, one of the members of the state’s Covid Task Force, told the Indian Express, “Entire families are getting infected. This is something we flagged two months ago. This variant is fast spreading, has exponential growth and has strained our health system. And we need district-wise sequencing to understand local viral behaviour.”
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