Coronavirus has been causing havoc in the world for more than a year now. The deadly virus is into its second year now and second wave in many countries. This wave is more widespread and infecting a lot more people. More variants of the Covid-19 strain have emerged such as the UK, the Brazil, and the South Africa mutant variants. Scientists have also isolated double mutant Covid-19 variant of the virus and now triple mutants are on the way to leash more terror onto the masses.
Double mutant Covid-19 variant
The Double mutant variant of coronavirus is the B.1.617 variant. In this, two mutations of two different mutant variants came together to form one new mutant variant. Thus, the L452R and E484Q mutations of different Covid mutant variants are seen together in this new mutant variant.
The L425R mutation was in the fastly transmissible variant in California. This was because the mutation helped the virus in binding more strongly with human cells. It also hastens viral replication. And the E484Q mutation tends to decrease the amount of antibodies that a vaccine or natural infection produce. Many countries have this double mutant Covid variants that have caused alarming rise in coronavirus cases there.
Symptoms of double mutant variants
The usual symptoms of covid were fever, dry cough, and loss of smell and taste. Other less common symptoms have emerged due to the mutant strains. Dr Shuchin Bajaj, Founder and Director, Ujala Cygnus Group of Hospitals spoke about the new variant of COVID says:
￼”The new variant spreads easily and quicker than any other variant. All mutations or variants may not be transmissible or cause infection, and there is still no clarity on which strain causes which symptoms.
“Nowadays, we are seeing new covid strain, and some newer symptoms are found in patients like fever, pain in muscles, dry and persistent cough, and loss of smell and taste. In addition to conjunctivitis, sore throat, headache, rashes, upset stomach, and discolouration of fingers and toes.”
Problems that occur with double mutant variants of Covid-19
Due to the double mutations, the virus has become more easily transmissible. It spreads to others faster and hence the number of cases worldwide and especially in India have shown an alarming rise. The governments are finding it difficult to control these cases and viral spread. Bed occupancy in hospitals is full and oxygen demands have risen leading to shortages. Medical fraternity is exhausted and are on the verge of collapse.
The double mutant variants have the capacity to invade and break the immune system and enter human organs easily. Hence, the disease tends to be more severe. Mortality rates are also high.
Another point of concern is that the currently approved vaccines for coronavirus may not be effective against the double mutant variants of Covid. Israel has carried out some study and stated that the vaccines have only partial effectiveness against Covid-19’s new double mutant variant. Are the vaccines effective against the triple mutant variants? No one knows yet.
The double mutant variants are less likely to be killed by specific monoclonal antibodies against the coronavirus. They may prove ineffective in these cases.
Besides, another problem is that the diagnostic tests and kits available for coronavirus testing were made for the original coronavirus strain. They may not be able to pick up the current mutant strains of the virus. Thus the virus might go undetected after testing. This might facilitate spread and hence more trouble.