‘Pressure’ From Medication May Have Led To Double Mutation
Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...Now open: Certificate Course in Management of Covid-19 by Govt. Of Gujarat and PlexusMDKnow more...
Get authentic, real-time news that helps you fight COVID-19 better.
Install PlexusMD App for doctors. It's free.
The emergence of a double mutant variant in the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not abnormal and is perhaps an indication of the pressure from human interventions, experts say. In the largest whole genome sequencing carried out so far in the country, a consortium found 771 variants of concerns.

The double mutant was found in 223 samples, including 206 from Maharashtra. “It has mutations in two positions as compared to other variants in circulation,” said Dr Rakesh Kumar Mishra, director of Hyderabad-based Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology that is one of the 10 laboratories involved.

The double mutations—namely E484Q and L452R—were known as separate entities. While the E484Q mutation was found in Maharashtra and Telangana, the L452R is a relatively new find in India and originally from California, US. Dr Nerges Mistry from the Foundation for Medical Research in Mumbai said double mutations are not uncommon among microorganisms.

“Mutations are common among viruses. When a virus is under pressure from use of medications and vaccines and development of herd immunity, it would mutate even more,” she said. Double mutation is one such response. The findings come even as Maharashtra is in the throes of the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, government experts are sure the double mutant variant is not responsible for the second wave. “About 80% of the 1,600 samples tested from Maharashtra didn't have variants of concerns. We hence cannot say the mutants are responsible for the ongoing second wave there,” said Dr Mishra.