In the past 24 hours, India recorded near 3 lakh new Covid-19 positive cases and over 2000 deaths which is the largest spike ever since the pandemic broke out. Yet another threat emerges for India in the form of a triple mutation variant of Covid-19. After the highly infectious and transmissible double mutation variant, the triple mutation variant surfaces in India, which is thought to be even more infectious and transmissible than the double mutation variant.
Scientists believe that the latest global surges are resultants of the triple mutation variant. Hotspot states like Maharashtra, Delhi and West Bengal are considered to be enduring the surge in cases due to the triple mutant. Prof. Madhukar Pai, professor of epidemiology at McGill University, established that the Triple mutant is a more transmissible variant and is infecting a large number of people within a very short period of time.
Genome Sequencing Need On War
Genome sequencing is of paramount importance in the effort to understand the virus and the threat it entails. The information obtained from genome sequencing plays a major role in the fight against the virus through the vaccine. In India, less than one per cent of the total positive cases are being sent for genome sequencing. Dr Pai also said that the delay in detecting the double mutant might have contributed towards the emergence of the third mutant and the current crisis going on. "We have to keep tweaking vaccines. For that, we need to understand the disease. But we need sequencing on a war footing," he added while talking to NDTV.
What is Triple Mutation?
If a virus is not contained in its preliminary stages, then it keeps on replicating and mutating in order to escape the immune responses of the host. Much like the double mutant, which was the combination of two strains, the triple mutant is a combined form of three Covid-19 variants or strains. It has yet been primarily detected in the states of Maharashtra, Delhi and West Bengal.
How infectious is the triple mutant?
Even though experts believe that the triple mutant is the driving variant behind the spike of the fresh Covid-19 cases taking place globally, there are no studies that establish how infectious or virulent it is. As of now, only ten laboratories in India are carrying out genome studies on the Covid-19 virus. In comparison to the single mutation variant of the Covid-19 virus, the double mutation virus displayed a faster rate of transmission and seemed to affect the young group as well. However, for the triple mutation variant, it still remains as a "variant of interest" rather than a "variant of concern" in India.
Are the vaccines effective against it?
Two of the three variants that combined to form the triple mutant show immune escape responses, making them more resistant to the antibodies. Even though much is not known about the triple mutant yet, it is believed to have some ability to escape the naturally acquired immunity of the body against Covid-19.