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India, equally transmissible UK variants, finds study | India News


HYDERABAD: Public Health England, the UK health department executive agency, has equated the sublineage of the novel coronavirus, B.1.617.2 of the Indian variant or double mutant B.1.617, with the B.1.1.7 strain of the United Kingdom in terms of the transmission rate.
This sublineage was previously declared as a “variant of concern”. Apart from the UK, the B.1.617.2 sublineage is prevalent in Maharashtra and other parts of India. Its presence, however, has yet to be established in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, although the main variant, B.1.617, is present in the Telugu states. The UK variant B.1.1.7 is also found in the Telugu states to a lesser extent.
According to the latest update of new coronavirus variants by Public Health England, B.1.617.2 is assessed as at least as transmissible as B.1.1.7 with moderate confidence. This is biologically plausible based on the mutation profile. “It may compete with B.1.1.7 in modeling and population growth estimates, suggesting transmissibility at least equal to B.1.1.7,” the UK health agency said.
Referring to its neutralizing potential against known Covid-19 vaccines, the report said that as of now there is insufficient data to assess the potential for immune escape.
“B.1.617.2 has spread rapidly in India based on available data. In some regions, the data for the S gene target suggest that this variant may be more prevalent than current sequence data indicates, due to the sequencing lagged, and may have superseded B.1.1.7 to some extent. Modeled growth estimates suggest that the variant is at least as transmissible as B.1.1.7, “the report added.

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