Indian variant: Where has the Indian variant been found in the UK? The THREE areas

Indian variant: Expert issues warning about ‘triple mutant’

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Indian variant cases with a “double mutant” expression have cropped up in the UK, igniting concern amongst health authorities. The variant, otherwise known as B.1.617, has fuelled the recent outbreak in India, now causing daily caseloads of more than 200,000. While the total number of cases in the UK haven’t yet exceeded one-hundredth of this, they have prompted a testing spree.

Where has the Indian variant been found in the UK?

While India is now on the UK’s travel red list, hundreds of cases have filtered in.

Public Health England (PHE) has detected 132, spread through the home nations.

Most have propagated in England, with 119 there so far, 55 of which testers reported yesterday.

They have also detected cases across local borders, although far fewer.

Health authorities in Scotland detected five, with another eight in Wales.

PHE has not disclosed which local authorities have detected cases.

But these totals could increase rapidly due to the variant’s unique qualities.

Scientists have identified two distinct mutations which potentially make it more dangerous.

One of the mutations, known as E484Q, has already emerged in the South African and UK variants.

E484Q appears capable of bypassing antibodies vital for protecting the body from Covid, including those created by the vaccine.

The second mutation, known as L452R, has so far only cropped up in California variants.

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L452R makes Covid more virulent by increasing the binding power of its spike proteins.

The mutation makes it more transmissible and adept at viral replication.

As if the dual mutant wasn’t enough for scientists, India has also reported a “triple” variant.

Indian authorities believe this has prompted case surges in West Bengal, Maharashtra, and Delhi.

The triple mutant is a variant of “interest” rather than “concern” and is so far less understood.

Speaking to New Delhi Television (NDTV), Madhukar Pai, professor of epidemiology at McGill University, said scientists would need to “keep tweaking” vaccines.

He said: “This is a more transmissible variant. It is making lots of people sick very quickly. We have to keep tweaking vaccines.

“For that, we need to understand the disease. But we need sequencing on war footing.”

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