Strains of the COVID virus with double mutation have been found in 10 states in India which could be responsible for rising infections and faster spread in some states. The double mutation virus now classified as B.1.617 was considered the most common in the samples sequenced. According to genome sequencing data submitted by Indian scientists, the double mutation coronavirus was first found in Maharashtra and most possibly may be becoming the most prevalent among all mutant variants in India.

This variant was first detected on October 5 and began showing increasing number of samples January onwards. On April 1, it accounted for 80% of all analysed genome sequences of mutant variants sent by India to the global repository GISAID. As per media report on Indian Express, a national daily 61% of samples put through genome sequencing in Maharashtra, the worst hit state in India has a suspicions that the current surge is powered by a more transmissible strain. 

The variant has been now found in eight countries, with 70% of samples containing the mutations originating from India. On March, the Union Health Ministry confirmed the existence of an Indian “double mutant” strain of the virus containing the E484Q and L452R mutations. The strain was subsequently named B.1.617.

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B.1.617 was first found in a large number of samples in Maharashtra, the first hot spot region of the second wave of infections that, till April 7, and are believed to have added more than half the new cases being recorded in the country.