India has detected a new “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus from samples collected last week, reported BBC.
However, the health officials are still checking if the variant, where two mutations come together in the same virus, may be more infectious or less affected by vaccines.
Some 10,787 samples from eighteen Indian states also showed up 771 cases of known variants – 736 of the UK, 34 of the South African and one Brazilian.
Officials say the variants are not linked to a spike in cases in India. The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), a group of 10 national laboratories under India’s health ministry, carried out genomic sequencing on the latest samples.
Virologist Shahid Jameel told the BBC that a “double mutation in key areas of the virus’s spike protein may increase these risks and allow the virus to escape the immune system”.