California reports 'double mutant' variant 1st detected in India 

Researchers at Stanford (Calif.) Clinical Virology Lab have confirmed one case of a coronavirus variant, first detected in India, that carries two mutations, the San Francisco Chronicle reported April 4. 

The case, identified through genomic sequencing, was found in the state's Bay Area. The "double mutant" variant carries a mutation similar to one found on another variant first detected in California, as well as another mutation found in variants first detected in Brazil and South Africa.

"This Indian variant contains two mutations in the same virus for the first time, previously seen on separate variants," Peter Chin-Hong, MD, infectious disease expert at UCSF, told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Since we know that the domain affected is the part that the virus uses to enter the body, and that the California variant is already potentially more resistant to some vaccine antibodies, it seems to reason that there is a chance that the Indian variant may do that too."

Early indications suggest the variant is more transmissible. In a hard-hit region in India, the variant now accounts for about 20 percent of COVID-19 cases. The same region has experienced a 50 percent jump in cases over the past week, Dr. Chin-Hong said. 

Overall, it's too early to confirm whether the variant could cause reinfection or resist vaccines. However, based on studies that have shown vaccines to be effective against other more transmissible variants, such as B.1.351, first detected in South Africa, Dr. Chin-Hong said there's reason to believe the vaccines will also be effective against this variant. 


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