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A new version of the virus has been discovered in India; Experts urge caution

NEW DELHI (AP) – A new “potentially disturbing” version of the coronavirus has been discovered in India, similar to those first found in the United Kingdom, South Africa and Brazil.

Health Ministry officials and experts, however, warned that the options would not be linked to the ongoing wave of new infections in India.

Things have been falling in India since September, and life has returned to normal. Cases began to rise last month, with more than 47,000 new infections detected in the last 24 hours, with 275 deaths, the highest number of deaths in a single day in the last four months.

The virus has mutated throughout the epidemic. Most mutations are small, but scientists have studied which ones make it easier for the virus to spread or make people sick.

In South Africa, Britain, երեք the three options first discovered in Brazil are considered the most disturbing և have been designated “concern options”. The three variants were found in 7% of the nearly 30,000 specimens classified by India as of December 30. The most common of these was the more contagious version, which was discovered in the UK last year.

More about the COVID-19 epidemic

The new version, found in India, has two mutations in a fatty protein that the virus uses to attach to cells, says Dr. Rakesh Mishra, director of the Center for Cellular Molecular Biology, one of the 10 research institutes that sequences the virus.

He added that these genetic changes could be worrisome as they could help the virus spread more easily և avoid the immune system, but he warned that it would not be linked to the wave.

The Ministry of Health said in a statement that the variant was found in 15% -20% of serial samples from the state of Maharashtra. The state, which is the financial capital of India, has suffered the most from the recent casualties, accounting for more than 60% of all active cases in India.

In Maharashtra, Nagpur, the infections caused by this new version have been in areas of the city that have so far suffered the least damage, says Dr. Sujit Singh, director of the National Center for Disease Control in New Delhi.

“The substantial pond was substantially large,” Singh added.

At the same time, health officials have acknowledged that they are worried about upcoming festivals, many of which mark the arrival of spring. The Indian government has written letters to the states imposing restrictions, but many holidaymakers have ignored the distance-virus protocols.

That negligence and the slow spread of vaccines are of most concern, says Dr. Vineta Ball, of the National Institute of Immunology in India. He said that, unlike last year, the virus was spreading to richer neighborhoods, infecting families who had previously managed to stay safe in their homes. Now people are less afraid, they are disappointed. “Masks wear out, but masks protect people’s beards rather than their noses,” he said.


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science receives support from the Department of Science Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.


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