Indian scientists flag virus mutations
A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Indian government has told authorities about minor mutations in some samples of the coronavirus that could "possibly evade immune response" and require more study, a leader of the forum has told. However the advisers said while they were flagging the mutations, there was no reason currently to believe they were expanding or could be dangerous.
- Scientists are studying what led to the current surge in cases in India and particularly whether a variant first detected in the country, called B.1.617, is to blame.
- The World Health Organization has not declared the Indian variant a "variant of concern," as it has done for variants first detected in Britain, Brazil and South Africa. But the WHO said on 27 April that its early modelling, based on genome sequencing, suggested that B.1.617 had a higher growth rate than other variants circulating in India.
- The forum of advisers, known as the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium, or INSACOG, has now found more mutations in the coronavirus that it thinks need to be tracked closely.
- INSACOG brings together 10 national research laboratories.