20 double mutant cases detected in Bengaluru, Kalaburgi

Active cases in Karnataka crossed 3 lakh on Tuesday, over one lakh added in the last four days

While active cases in Karnataka crossed the 3 lakh mark on Tuesday, doctors at the genome sequencing lab at NIMHANS have detected 20 cases of “double mutant” variant (B.1.617) in two clusters reported from Bengaluru and Kalaburgi.

This is apart from 46 U.K. strain and six South Africa strain cases that had been reported earlier in the State.

V. Ravi, nodal officer for genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, said, “All the 20 cases had a travel history to Maharashtra and are a part of the clusters reported from these two cities,” he said.

“There are two mutations (L452R and K484Q) in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 that have not been reported together earlier and this is referred to as double mutant in India. Studies are still on to check if this variant is more infectious. Like all viruses, the Coronavirus keeps changing in small ways as it passes from one person to another. A vast majority of these mutations are inconsequential and do not alter the way the virus behaves,” said Dr. Ravi.

The NIMHANS lab received the cluster samples in late March and the sequencing was completed by April 15. “We reported this to the Centre and it has been announced now. So far, 778 cases of double mutant have been reported in the country. A majority are from Maharashtra (427), West Bengal (124), Madhya Pradesh (52), Delhi (75), and Chhattisgarh (34),” he said.

“We know that the U.K., South Africa and Brazil variants are more infectious. But this double mutant of India is under investigation. One study from NIV Pune has shown that those who have been vaccinated with Covaxin are able to neutralise the double mutant,” Dr. Ravi explained.

Over 3 lakh active cases

Meanwhile, the number of active cases in the State breached the three lakh mark, touching 3,01,899 on Tuesday. Of these 2,063 are being monitored in ICUs of various hospitals.

What is worrisome is that over one lakh active cases have been added in the last four days. From 2,14,311 on April 23, active cases have shot up to 3,01,899 on Tuesday. With 2,06,223 active cases, Bengaluru contributes to over 68% of the total caseload.

While Karnataka continues to be in the third place in terms of active cases after Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh, Bengaluru Urban has the highest number now.

On Tuesday. Karnataka reported 31,830 new cases taking the total to 14,00,775. Of these, 17,550 cases are from Bengaluru Urban alone. With 180 deaths, the toll rose to 14,807.

The State has vaccinated 90,83,705 people so far.

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