New Coronavirus Variant Identified, But No Cause For Concern Yet
New Delhi: As India prepares for what some experts have cautioned against an inevitable third wave of COVID-19 pandemic, there is bad news. The highly transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has been found to mutate further to form the ‘Delta plus’ or ‘AY.1′ variant.
However, the good news, according to scientists, is that there is no immediate cause for concern as its incidence in India is still quite low.
The Delta or B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India and which pushed the second wave to an uncontrollable level in April-May, has mutated to the ‘Delta plus’ variant.
“One of the emerging variants is B.1.617.2.1, also known as AY.1, characterized by the acquisition of K417N mutation,” said Vinod Scaria, clinician and scientist at Delhi’s CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB).
He added that the mutation is in the spike protein of SARS-COV-2, which helps the virus enter and infect human cells.
Immunologist Vineeta Bal, guest faculty at Pune’s Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, told PTI that how transmissible this new variant is will be crucial in determining its rapid spread or otherwise.
She also noted that the quality and quantity of neutralising antibodies generated in the person infected with the new variant is unlikely to be affected because of the mutation.
So those contracting the new variant of the virus need not worry.
Pulmonologist and medical researcher Anurag Agrawal was also of the view that there is no cause for concern due to the new variant in India as of now.