After the variants of the coronavirus British, South African and Brazilian, India also raises concern given its characteristics and the rapid deterioration of the health situation in IndiaAlthough nothing indicates for now that it is more contagious or more resistant to vaccines.

This variant, call B.1.617, was detected in western India in October.

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It is described as “Double mutant” because it contains two potentially worrisome mutations, related to the spike protein that allows SARS-CoV-2 to penetrate the human body.

The first, E484Q, resembles that of the South African and Brazilian variants, E484K, suspected of making vaccination less effective and increasing the risk of reinfection.

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The second, the L452R, is also present in a variant detected in California, and could be capable of causing an increase in transmission.

It is the first time that both mutations have been detected in a variant with an important diffusion.

The concern is therefore that this variant is more resistant to vaccines designed to combat earlier strains of the covid-19 and, at the same time, make it more contagious.

“The 484 mutation may be partially responsible for an immune failure, but it is not enough by itself. It must eventually be associated with other mutations that we do not see in the Indian variant ”, French virologist Bruno Lina said on Wednesday.

“In a week or two, we will have a more quantitative estimate of the variant’s reaction to the vaccine,” Rakesh Mishra, from the Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology of India, told AFP.

Furthermore, the situation in India, faced with an explosion of infections and deaths despite the fact that until now it had managed to minimize the impact of the pandemic, it raises concern in many countries that are trying to mitigate it with massive vaccination campaigns.

The United Kingdom on Monday restricted seats on flights from that country to its residents, after confirming 103 cases of the “Indian” variant in its territory.

For its part, France on Wednesday included India on the list of countries whose travelers must undergo mandatory quarantine.

But nothing proves for now that this variant is responsible for the worsening of the epidemic in India.

“At the moment, no link has been established between the emergence of this variant and the recent degradation of the epidemiological situation”, stressed the French public health agency in its latest analysis on the matter, dated April 8.

“It is possible that this degradation is at least partially due to the massive congregations that took place recently throughout the country and insufficient adoption of preventive measures among the general population”, según Public Health France.

In addition, months after being detected, this variant has not been imposed at all in the country, contrary to the British for example. Even in the state of Maharastra (center), where it arose, it only represented between 15 and 20% of the sequenced samples in March, according to the Ministry of Health. And it is still more minority in the rest of India.



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