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New ‘double variant’ of coronavirus identified in 18 states

New Delhi, March 24: A new ‘double mutant variant’ of coronavirus has been detected in 18 states of the country in addition to other strains or “variants of concern” (VOCs) which have also found abroad, said the Ministry of Health on Wednesday amid surging cases of coronavirus in the country.

The Health Ministry said, “Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states.”
Out of the total 10,787 samples, the UK variant has been reported in 736 samples, 34 of the South African strain and one is of the Brazil variant.
The statement by the ministry said, “Since INSACOG initiated its work, 771 variants of concerns (VOCs) have been detected in a total of 10787 positive samples shared by States/UTs. These include 736 samples positive for viruses of the UK (B.1.1.7) lineage. 34 samples were found positive for viruses of the South African (B.1.351) lineage. 1 sample was found positive for viruses of the Brazilian (P.1) lineage. The samples with these VOCs have been identified in 18 States of the country.”
The samples were subjected to genome sequencing and analysis at ten national laboratories. Genome sequencing is a testing process that helps to understand the complete genetics of an organism.
The genome sequencing has been carried out on samples from arriving international travellers, of the contacts of those positive of the variant and community samples from most states where the ten national laboratories are set up.
India today recorded 47,262 new coronavirus cases and 275 deaths, the highest single-day spike since November. The active caseload is at 3.6 lakh.
With COVID-19 cases on a worrying rise, the centre today urged states to ensure strict adherence to Covid protocols during upcoming festivals such as Holi, Shab-e-Barat, Bihu, Easter and Eid-ul-Fitr.