Indian “double mutant” – what is the difference between a particularly “vicious” strain of coronavirus

The publication “Lenta.ru” talked with biologist Baranova, professor at the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University, about the features of the Indian variant of the coronavirus.

IN interview with “Lente.ru”… the biologist spoke of a “particularly vicious” strain known as the “double mutant” that was rapidly spreading in India. Its increased infectivity is explained by the presence of 5-6 mutations at once, says Baranova:

“The Indian ‘double mutant’ was first described in October 2020. There are not even two mutations in it, but five or six, while two are especially “evil”. Double mutation can happen in two ways. The first is that one is simply formed in order, then the other. This is the standard version and is quite slow. But there is also a quick way, when two viruses enter the same cell, exchange RNA elements with each other, and, accordingly, we get a hybrid version with two mutations at once. “

The biologist believes that the Indian strain is “definitely more infectious than its more standard cousins.” It was first described in October last year. At the same time, scientists did not even imagine how quickly it would spread throughout the country. Already in April of this year, the Indian Genomics Consortium SARS-CoV-2 presented a report on a significant increase in the proportion of E484Q and L452R mutations in the state of Maharashtra compared to December 2020. Baranova emphasizes:

“However, until now, none of the scientists have clearly and definitely said that this strain is recombinant. Although the hypothesis of the rapid evolution of coronaviruses is indirect, there is already a lot of convincing evidence. “





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