A more contagious offshoot of the Delta Coronavirus variant found in the UK
As a reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over, scientists are closely monitoring a new mutation in the Delta variant called AY.4.2. This is due to an increase in the number of cases in the United Kingdom (UK).
AY.4.2 can also be found in India "in very low numbers", said scientists from INSACOG, a forum set up by the Union's health ministry, according to a TOI report.
The new variant, which scientists believe to be more transmissible than the Delta strain, has been explained "Variant Under Investigation (VUI)" (VUI-21OCT-01) in the UK.
“The designation was made on the basis that this sub-lineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, and there is some early evidence that it may have an increased growth rate in the UK compared to Delta,” the UK health security agency said.
“More evidence is needed to know whether this is due to changes in the virus’ behaviour or to epidemiological conditions,” the UK health security agency said.
According to the UK Health Security Agency, around 6% of genetically sequenced Covid-19 cases last week were from the AY.4.2 mutation.
Behind the sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in the UK in the spring is the Delta variant, which has led to the application of strict bans. The UK has seen the highest number of new Covid-19 cases since July last year. Daily infections exceeded 49,000.
As viruses continue to mutate, new versions will inevitably appear. The mutation in the AY.4.2 delta variant was first noticed in July 2021 and has grown slowly since then.
A BBC report suggests that AY.4.2 contains mutations that may confer survival benefits on the virus. There is also preliminary evidence that it is spreading faster than the dominant delta variant.
AY.4.2 contains the spike mutations Y145H and A222V, which make it easier for the virus to enter human cells.
Professor François Balloux, director of the Genetics Institute at University College London, told “AY.4.2 is potentially a marginally more infectious strain".
"It's nothing compared with what we saw with Alpha and Delta, which were something like 50 to 60 per cent more transmissible. So, we are talking about something quite subtle here and that is currently under investigation. It is likely to be up to 10 per cent more transmissible," Francois Balloux told the BBC.
Sources:- India today
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