What has happened?
- A new lineage of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, called B.1.618, has been identified in India, which is predominantly circulating in West Bengal.
- This is the second lineage to be identified from India, the first being B.1.617, also known as the ‘double mutant’ virus.
- A researcher at the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomic and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB)
- 1.618, the new variant, is characterised by a distinct set of genetic variants including E484K, and is being called a major immune escape variant –
- That is it can escape immunity even if a person has contracted the virus before and has the ability to produce antibodies against it.
- The Double Mutant virus (B.1.617) carries 2 mutations called E484Q and
- E484Q is similar to the British & South African
- L452R is similar to the Californian variant.
Is it spreading in west Bengal?
- The bB.1.618 have been growing significantly in West Bengal, scientists have pointed out.
- Experts have suggested that the initial sequences in the B.1.618 variant were found in West Bengal, which is currently witnessing state elections.
- Moreover, members of this lineage have also been found in other parts of the world in the US, Switzerland, Singapore and Finland.
- The variant was first found in a sample outside of India on April 22.
- At least 129 of the 130 1.618 sequences in India were found in samples from West Bengal.
- Currently, India has 62.5% of the B.1.618 variants reported in the world, as per analysis on the outbreak.info.
IMMUNE ESCAPE PROPERTIES of B.1.618
- According to Vinod Scaria, “E484K is a major immune escape variant — also found in a number of emerging lineages across the world.
- E484K can escape multiple mAbs (monoclonal antibody) as well as panels of convalescent plasma,
- Meaning the infection through this variant makes plasma therapy, or plasma taken from recovered Covid-19 patients and given to those who are infected with Covid-19, as redundant.
Impact on Bengal?
- The proportion of SARS-CoV-2 samples of the 1.618 lineage has been increasing in West Bengal since January.
- However, Scaria added that at the moment, there is no conclusive evidence that this is the lineage driving infections in West Bengal.
where this data of B.1.618 came from?
- Genome sequencing data has been shared by researchers from National Institute of Biomedical Genomics in West Bengal on GISAID —
- A global science initiative established in 2008 that provides open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses, and now the coronavirus responsible for the current pandemic.
- Data submitted from India to the global repository GISAID shows B.1.618, at 12%, is the third most common variant sequenced in the last 60 days.
- The 1.617, at 28%, is the most common among sequences, followed by B.1.1.7 (the UK variant), the India Mutation Report by Scripps Research showed, citing the GISAID data.
Q) Tetanus germs produce a toxin. It affects?
- Jaw bones
- Involuntary muscles
- Voluntary muscles
- Both voluntary and involuntary muscles