A new mutation of the Delta variant of COVID-19 which was being monitored and assessed in the UK is present in India “in very low numbers”.
Scientists of the INSACOG network monitoring variations in SARS-CoV-2 added that the AY.4.2-related findings still carry a high level of uncertainty, and it is still early to say this lineage carries higher risk of illness and/or death, a ToI report added.
The new variant has been classed as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) amid concerns of its increased growth rate, with experts warning it is a reminder that the pandemic is not over.
On October 21, the US Centers for Diseases Control said it has less than 10 reported cases of AY.4.2 in its database so far, but the UK health authorities have found 15,120 cases of VUI-21OCT-01—the other name for AY.4.2—since it was first detected in July.
AY.4.2, dubbed “Delta Plus” and now named VUI-21OCT-01 by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), has been under closer scrutiny in recent days after evidence indicated that it spread more quickly than the dominant
While evidence is still emerging, so far it does not appear the new VUI causes more severe disease or renders the vaccines currently deployed any less effective.
“The designation was made on the basis that this sub-lineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, and there is some early evidence that it may have an increased growth rate in the UK compared to Delta. More evidence is needed to know whether this is due to changes in the virus’ behaviour or to epidemiological conditions,” it said.
According to official statistics, the original Delta variant – first identified in India and later classed as Variant of Concern (VOC) in the UK – remains overwhelmingly dominant in the UK, making up approximately 99.8 per cent of all cases.
As of October 20, there were 15,120 cases of the new VUI-21OCT-01 confirmed by whole genome sequences in England since it was first detected in July.
As is routine for any new VUI, the UKHSA said it is carrying out laboratory and epidemiological investigations to better understand the properties of this variant.
“Viruses mutate often and at random, and it is not unexpected that new variants will continue to arise as the pandemic goes on, particularly while the case rate remains high,” said Dr Jenny Harries, UKHSA Chief Executive.
AY.4.2 is suspected to be the cause for the exponential rise in Covid-19 cases in the United Kingdom, Russia (a lockdown will start in Moscow next week) and Israel last week.
With agency inputsInternet Explorer Channel Network