Most mutations arising within a single infection never make it out into the wider world. But this evolutionary handicap is offset if the total number of infections is very large, like Covid 19's case.
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.
The E484Q mutation has characteristics of a previously detected variant - the E484K - which was seen in the fast-spreading Brazilian and South African variants, making it highly transmissible.
Viruses constantly evolve, and the world is in a race to vaccinate millions and tamp down the coronavirus before even more mutants emerge.
During the course of the study, the researchers studied around 21,000 sequencing results reported worldwide between January 2020 and July 2020.