'Double mutant' Coronavirus

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    'Double mutant' Coronavirus
    The terms of 'Double Mutant' was used in BBC news reporter while covering current India break out recently. What's 'Double Mutant' coronavirus does? Does it affecting to other country beside India where the variant of the coronavirus had been detected.

    On 21 May, Goa has registered 1,625 new Covid-19 cases, 30 fatalities and 3,075 recoveries in the last 24 hours. With this, the infection tally has risen to 1,43,192, while the toll stands at 2,302. There are 19,328 active cases in the state.


    "Double Mutant" Coronavirus

    India's devastating second Covid-19 wave has cast the spotlight on a new "double-mutant" variant called B1617. The B1617 has two spike protein mutations, namely E484Q and L452R, but in reality, B1617 contains a total of 13 spike protein mutations. The name "double mutant" is just a name to refer to those two mutations and does not mean anything scientifically. It is not new, as the genome sequence of B1617 was first uploaded onto the Global Initiative on Sharing all Influenza Data (Gisaid), a platform which promotes the international sharing of all influenza virus sequences, in October 2020. Prior to the massive surge in Covid-19 cases in India, this variant was also detected in the United States and Britain at the end of February 2021.


    The main reson of surge

    The surge in cases in India cannot totally blame on the mutanted virus, main reason was due to over 98% of India's population have not received the full dose of the vaccine. This means many people are at risk of infection. Other possible contributory factors may include mass gatherings, relaxation of social distancing measures, and limited testing capacity.

    A surge in cases could also result in more variants, giving the virus greater chances of survival. If the genetic material of the virus is not copied precisely when it replicates, a mutation is the result. As more people get infected, the more the virus replicates, the higher the probability of mutations.

    India has so far recorded more than 11 million cases and 160,000 deaths. India's caseload began to dip at the start of 2021 with daily infections falling to less than 20,000 from a peak of over 90,000 in September.


    Is "Double Mutant" more infectious or less affected by vaccines

    Mutations in the spike gene can make the virus inherently "better" at infecting people or can help the virus to escape neutralising antibodies. This means if the virus mutates in the "right way", it can reinfect someone who has already recovered from Covid-19. But scientists say reinfections will be very mild compared to primary infections in people who are vaccinated or who recovered already from an earlier case of Covid-19.

    But if the virus can use reinfection to spread, then it would be "penetrating" herd immunity, says Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center Shreveport. (Herd immunity happens when a large portion of a community becomes immune to a disease through vaccination or through the mass spread of the disease.)

    This puts the most vulnerable people at risk of severe disease, since the virus can move through the herd to reach them. He says unlike some other variants, India's new double variant is not likely to be more deadly or more inherently transmissible, but that more data is needed to be sure.


    Infection from India to Vietnam

    At 18 April, a grop of Indian passengers flyed from Dubai to Vietnam were sent to isolate at a dedicated hotel, 4 of them were tested positive and 1 of the hotel worker got infected as well after a week of their stay. Meanwhile, a group of 5 experts from China which isolated in the same hotel were released from their isolation period on 23 April, it was highly suspected the China experts were infected at that time but due to tested result of Dubai batch came later, so they were released without noticing the risk.

    They worked across Vietnam from 23 to 30 April, finally they were found infected by Covid19 at China border when the backed to their country. The news were immediately conveyed to Vietnam authority and investigation started immediately. From the invetigation result, from 2 until 9 of May, total  69 personnel that directlt and indirectly contact with these group of China Experts found positive on Covid 19 test.

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