B.1.617 mutant variant found in 22% cases in samples sent by PGIMER

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Chandigarh, May 16 (PTI) The presence of the double mutant variant of the coronavirus has been found in 22 per cent samples that were recently sent by the PGIMER here for sequencing.

Reports of sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 from 23 swab samples that were sent were received from the National Centre for Disease Control, New Delhi, last Thursday.

'Presence of the double mutant B.1.617 variant having the signature mutations L452R and E484Q has been confirmed in 22 percent (5/23) of the samples after sequencing,' PGIMER Director Jagat Ram said on Sunday.

A PGIMER release quoting Ram stated that the B.1.617 variant, first identified in India last year, had been found in more than 40 countries and recently classified as a 'variant of concern' by the World Health Organization.

'It has been found by researchers that the mutations in the double-mutant strain render it to be more transmissible and vaccine-induced antibodies are somewhat less potent in neutralising this variant,' he said.

'The surge of cases during the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic has somewhat been attributed to the B.1.617 variant strain,' he said. 'Of the other samples, the UK variant -- B.1.1.7 -- which is also a variant of concern and associated with higher transmissibility was found in 39 per cent (9/23) samples.' PTI SUN HMB

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