India recorded the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the second day in a row on Friday with 332,730 new cases
Scientists in India have identified a new Covid-19 mutation known as the "triple-mutant" in West Bengal, raising new fears about the ability of health services to cope amid the worst Covid-19 crisis the country is facing since the beginning of the pandemic, Times of India reported.
The new variant, dubbed as the ‘Bengal Strain’ has also been found in samples collected from three other states including Delhi, Maharashtra, and Chhattisgarh.
According to scientists, it might be more infectious than the previous strain known as the “double-mutant (B.1.617)” reported last month as it might be capable of escaping a person’s immune surveillance. They cautioned this might aggravate the country’s current Covid-19 crisis further.
However, no scientific research has been undertaken which can either confirm the fear or dismiss it.
Researchers have labelled this new mutant as B.1.618 which is a combined form of three different Covid-19 strains.
“The proportion of B.1.618 has been growing significantly in recent months in Bengal,” said Vinod Scaria, a researcher of genome mutations at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) on Twitter.
“This is a more transmissible variant. It is making lots of people sick very quickly," Madhukar Pai, professor of epidemiology at McGill University told NDTV.
"We have to keep tweaking vaccines. For that, we need to understand the disease. But we need sequencing on a war footing," he added.
India recorded the world's highest daily tally of coronavirus cases for the second day in a row on Friday with 332,730 new cases.
The country's long-underfunded health system is being stretched to the limit by a devastating second wave blamed on a "double mutant" variant and "super-spreader" mass gatherings.
Major private and government-run hospitals in New Delhi have sent out urgent appeals to the central government, calling for an immediate supply of oxygen for hundreds of patients on ventilator support.