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Covid-19: More Virulent Delta Variant Feeds Fear of Cocktail Resistance | India News


HYDERABAD: It is feared that the highly infectious Delta variant of Covid-19 that first appeared in India has mutated into a more virulent version called AY.1 or Delta +, one that is possibly capable of resisting even the cocktail of monoclonal antibodies that it is currently prescribed as a cure for the virus.
According to Public Health England, an executive agency of the UK government’s department of health and social care, 63 Delta genomes (B.1.617.2) had so far been identified with the new K417N mutation in the global scientific initiative GISAID. In its latest report on Covid-19 variants, updated as of last Friday, India had reported six cases of Delta + as of June 7.

Dr Vinod Scaria, a physician and computational biologist at the Delhi Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, said that an important point to consider regarding K417N was “the evidence suggesting resistance to the monoclonal antibodies Casirivimab and Imdevimab.” This cocktail has received authorization for emergency use in the country from the Central Organization for the Control of Drug Standards.

Scaria tweeted Sunday that among the emerging variants, Delta + (B.1.617.2.1) was characterized by the acquisition of the K417N mutation that maps to the receptor-binding domain and has also been associated with immune escape. “The variant frequency for K417N is not much in India. As Delta continues to evolve, acquiring new mutations, there is much interest in understanding these mutations, “he wrote, naming the new mutant Delta +.

The Public Health England report said the Delta-AY.1 version was found by routine scanning for variations in Delta. A small number of detected sequences had acquired the K417N spike protein mutation, he said. Scientists attribute the first such sequence to Europa in late March. Scaria said that 127 sequences from Europe, Asia and America are now available in the public domain. Scaria noted that several genomes now available around the world were part of the AY.1 or B.1.617.2.1 lineage.

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