Scientists from Stanford University (California, USA) have identified in the area a case of the new ‘double mutant’ variant of the coronavirus, found for the first time in India, as confirmed this Monday by a spokeswoman for the educational center.
Researchers at the Stanford Clinical Virology Laboratory last week detected the presence of this variant in an infected person, which after appearing in March in India is spreading fast. To date, there was no evidence that it had reached the United States.
“This variant has the mutation L452R that we also find in the Californian, as well as another significant mutation, the E484Q“said Stanford Health Care spokeswoman Lisa Kim.
In addition to the confirmed case, investigators are following seven other people of which they suspect that they could also have been infected with this variant.
Variant ‘double mutant’
The variant has been baptized as ‘double mutant’ because it has undergone two modifications that allow it more easily attach to cells, although at the moment it is unknown if it is more infectious than others or if it has greater resistance to antibodies in vaccines.
At the end of March, the Indian Consortium on SARS-CoV-2 Genomics (INSACOG), a grouping of ten national laboratories formed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, confirmed that this new mutation was mainly detected in the western state of Maharashtra after several tests in the sequencing of the virus.
“Analysis of samples from Maharashtra has revealed that compared to December 2020, there has been an increase in the fraction of samples with the E484Q and L452R mutations“explained the report, adding that these changes had been found in approximately 15-20% of the samples and did not match any previously cataloged coronavirus.
According to the independent count from Johns Hopkins University, since the start of the pandemic, 30 million people have been infected by coronavirus in the US and more than 555,000 have lost their lives.