UPDATED: April 14, 2021 17:28 IST
The Jharkhand government has appealed to the people of the state to strictly follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour after four samples from the state were found to be of the new ‘double mutant variant’ of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19.
Jharkhand had sent 52 samples for genome sequencing to the Institute of Life Sciences, Bhubaneshwar. Among these, 39 were selected for whole-genome sequencing.
Out of these 39 samples, nine were found to be of the UK mutant strain and four samples were found to be of the double mutant variant.
Among the UK variants, eight samples were from Ranchi district and one from East Singhbhum district.
While the UK variant has been reported in India for some months now, the new double mutant variant has been detected recently.
India has formally named this new double mutant as ‘B.1.617’. The strains E484Q and L425R are defining the double mutations and enabling them to become more infectious variants of Covid-19, experts say.
Jharkhand is among the 18 states and UTs where this new double mutant variant has been detected so far.
For Jharkhand, detection of the double mutant variant comes at a time when the state is seeing a rise in its Covid-19 cases.
The state’s health infrastructure is already strained by handling the present caseload. The state government has requisitioned 1,500 ventilators, Remdesivir doses and has reserved 50 per cent of beds in private hospitals for Covid-19 patients.
The government said this sequence will help in better planning for the future and an alert for the health department to plan in better management of the patients.
It requested the people to follow Covid-19 appropriate behaviour very strictly so that the chain of transmission can be broken.