The WHO added B.1.621 (including B.1.621.1) to the list of VOI on August 30 and gave it the designation “Mu”. It has mutations that indicate potential immune escape properties.
The weekly bulletin from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) shows that Delta and Delta sub-lineages continue to be the main 'variants of concern'.
It said that AY.12 that was first noted in Israel and currently driving infection in the country, which has inoculated 60 percent of its population, is not yet seen in India.
In a recent bulletin, it also said that AY.3 has been identified as a new sub-lineage of Delta and it is defined by 'ORF1a:I3731V common AY.1 mutations except for S:417'.
An independent virologist said that in the wake of the new findings, the government should also reveal it's future strategy.
So far, genome sequencing of only about 15,000 samples across India has been carried out while experts say that considering India’s population, this number should have been at least 1 lakh.
The data shows that the lineage, viewed as responsible for second wave, dominates with 75% of all samples of Variant of Concerns recorded in the country.
Harsh Vardhan informed his colleagues that 17 new laboratories are going to be added to the INSACOG network to increase the number of samples screened and allow for more spatial analysis.
Senior virologist Shahid Jameel quits as Chief Advisor to Centre's Covid genome surveillance project
Jameel confirmed to this newspaper his decision to step down from the role, but refused to comment further.
"For the public, what needs to be communicated very clearly is that there is a greater need to double mask and maintain social distancing as this virus is highly infectious," a senior scientist said.
The analysis shows that the double mutant is driving the surge in Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.