18 Indian states report emergence of a new double mutant covid variant
London, March 25, 2021 (AltAfrica)-Officials in India have detected a new “double mutant” strain of COVID-19 that appears to be contributing to a spike in cases.
Global experts have warned that limited vaccine access in low and middle-income countries can lead to dangerous new mutations that could threaten global progress in combatting the pandemic.
Those fears appear to be coming true as mutations have now emerged in the UK, South Africa, Brazil, and now India. The three previously known mutations were detected in India yet a new “double mutation” of the virus is worrying experts.
India is experiencing a worrying new spike in cases, with 40,715 new cases detected over the past 24 hours. India’s government insists the new mutation is not causing the spread, yet earlier mutations have shown an increase in the infectiousness of the virus.
In India, measures have been minimal while the country’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19 is struggling to vaccinate the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people. India’s health authorities have so far administered roughly 35 million doses, meaning that about one in 40 Indians have received at least one dose.
Meanwhile, India has now detected approximately 11.7 million COVID-19 cases nationwide, with the UK, Brazil, and South Africa variants being found in the South Asian country.
The new COVID-19 “double mutation” found in India has some of the characteristics of those seen in the British and South African variation. Virologist Shahid Jameel explained to the BBC that such a double mutation can occur with “two mutations coming together in the same virus.”
The British COVID-19 mutation first emerged in Kent amid government inaction, the variant has now spread to 27 European countries and is the highest reported strain of the virus in 10 countries.
Dr. Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe, has warned that a loosening of measures and the new variations are driving a new surge in COVID-19 cases. “The spread of the variants is driving the increase,” he added that another large contributor is “the opening of society, when it is not done in a safe and a controlled manner.”
In order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus in India, provincial governments are again considering restrictive measures to curb the spread. With a new mutation on the horizon, the uneven global distribution of vaccines appears to already threaten the progress that has been made in recent months.