Fears Indian Covid variant could ‘scupper’ UK reopening plans

New ‘double mutant’ coronavirus variant from India detected in UK

New ‘double mutant’ coronavirus variant from India detected in UK

It comes after a new found in India has been designated a "variant under investigation" rather than a "variant of concern" like the Brazilian and South African variants.

The country has reported more than 150,000 Covid cases a day for the past three weeks.

"A new variant has been designated a Variant Under Investigation (VUI) by PHE [Public Health England]", the country's health agency said in its weekly report, according to PTI. "PHE and worldwide partners continue to monitor the situation closely", PHE said.

We have been in close contact with the Indian government about the Prime Minister's upcoming visit in light of the COVID-19 situation in India.

Experts are said to be anxious about the variant as it carries two mutations in the spike protein that may make it more able to evade the body's immune responses.

The virus has been mutating throughout the pandemic. Professor Christina Pagel, a member of Independent Sage, a group of independent scientists providing scientific advice to the United Kingdom government, who is director of the Operational Research Unit at UCL, tweeted: "B1617 is worrying because it has some potentially worrying mutations NOT seen in SA, Kent or Brazil strains". Most mutations are trivial, but scientists have been investigating which ones might make the virus spread more easily or make people sicker.

The variant was detected using genome sequencing, according to the Health Ministry.

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Such no-body prosecutions, Dow said, are "incredibly important for the victim's family because they want closure". Authorities have previously served search warrants at the homes of multiple members of the Flores family.

That means it could be a concern based on what is known about those variants already.

"Having two of these mutations which have been seen in other variants around the world are concerning, because there's a similarity in these mutations that confer increased transmissibility, and some of these mutations also result in reduced neutralization, which may have an impact on our counter-measures including the vaccines", she said.

Covid vaccines are still very effective at reducing the risk of serious illness and manufacturers plan to update their vaccines in response to the most worrying new variants.

Prof Altmann said he found it "mystifying" and "slightly confounding" that those arriving from India are not subject to a hotel quarantine.

"These two escape mutations working together could be a lot more problematic than the South African and Brazilian variants who have only got one escape mutation", Paul Hunter, professor in medicine at the University of East Anglia, told The Guardian.

Coronavirus cases have risen sharply in India in the past few weeks as the country battles a second wave.

Asked why India had not been put on the red list, Downing Street said the situation was "under constant review". Being on the red list means people who have been in those countries in the last 10 days can not enter the UK.

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