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Coronavirus news - live: India sends samples for genome sequencing as Delta variant mutates

·1 min read
A health worker takes a swab and nasal sample of a man for Covid-19 test at a city railway station in Bengaluru, India, on 14 June 2021.  (EPA)
A health worker takes a swab and nasal sample of a man for Covid-19 test at a city railway station in Bengaluru, India, on 14 June 2021. (EPA)

India has sent samples from at least three districts in the state of Maharashtra for genome sequencing to identify the prevalence of a new mutation of the Delta variant of Covid-19.

“Delta plus” or AY.1 is a variant of Delta, which was first identified in India, but with an additional mutation known as K417N. This mutation has also been seen in the Beta variant, which was first detected in South Africa.

The World Health Organisation has labelled Beta a variant of concern.

Public Health England has said 63 genomes of Delta with the new K417N mutation have been identified so far on the GISAID initiative, a global database of coronavirus genomes, according to news agency PTI.

Virologist Shahid Jameel told The Hindu that AY.1 has “all the mutations that make the Delta variant along with an additional concerning one with the South African variant”.

This comes as India reported 60,471 new infections in the 24 hours ending Tuesday morning, the lowest since 31 March, and an overall caseload of 29.57 million. More than 2,700 deaths were reported and the number of fatalities now stand at 377,031.

Meanwhile, Public Health England has found that the Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca offer high protection against hospitalisation from the Delta variant.

It said that while the Pfizer shot was 96 per cent effective after two doses, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offered 92 per cent protection against hospitalisation.

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