India has discovered a new “double mutant” variant of COVID-19, as the country struggles to contain a spike in cases that is raising fears of a second wave.
India’s Ministry of Health said in a news release on Wednesday, “Variants of concern and a new double mutant variable have been found in India”.
A “double mutant” variant is a virus that carries two mutations. It’s not yet clear how many infections have been linked to this double mutant variant, or whether the strain is any more dangerous, but the ministry said “such mutations confer immune escape and increased infectivity.”
According to the ministry, the number of known cases linked to the double mutation was not high enough to explain the current nationwide surge in infections.
India recorded 53,476 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday- the biggest single-day rise in five months. The last time the daily count was this high was October 23, according to a CNN tally of figures from the Ministry of Health.
A senior government official said yesterday that a “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 206 samples of the worst-hit western state of Maharashtra.
The new variant was also detected in nine samples in New Delhi, the director of the National Center for Disease Control, Sujeet Kumar Singh, told a news channel.