The identification of a new variant of the virus (B.1.617) in two travellers from the UK, who tested positive for the acute respiratory disease after their return to India has fuelled fears of a worsening outbreak in the Indian subcontinent.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has informed that the new variant is different from the one that is causing havoc in the UK. Scientists are concerned that this new variant could be more contagious as it has additional mutations.
The UK variant is currently the predominant strain in India and is responsible for the recent surge in cases. Scientists are concerned that the new variant could be more contagious as it has additional mutations.
However, it is still not clear if this new variant is more virulent or leads to more severe disease. At present, there is no evidence to suggest that it is more resistant to the available vaccines.
authorities are monitoring the situation closely and additional genomic sequencing is being done to determine the spread and significance of this new variant.