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Indian scientists signal mutations of viruses that can “avoid the immune response”



People register their names after receiving a dose of COVISHIELD, a coronavirus vaccine (COVID-19) produced by the Serum Institute of India, at a vaccination center in Ahmedabad, India, on May 1, 2021. REUTERS / Amit Dave

A forum of scientific advisers set up by the Indian government has told authorities about minor mutations in some coronavirus samples that could “avoid the immune response”

; and require more research, the forum leader told Reuters.

However, councilors said that while signaling mutations, there is currently no reason to believe that they are expanding or could be dangerous.

Researchers are studying what led to the current surge in cases in India, and in particular whether it is a guilty variant, first discovered in the country called B.1.617. The World Health Organization has not declared the Indian version an “option of concern”, as it did for options first discovered in the UK, Brazil and South Africa. But the WHO said on April 27 that its early modeling, based on genome sequencing, suggests that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other variants circulating in India. Read more

The Advisers’ Forum, known as the Indian genetic consortium SARS-CoV-2 or INSACOG, has now found more mutations in the coronavirus that it says need to be tracked closely.

“We are seeing some mutation in some samples that could possibly avoid immune reactions,” said Shahid Jamil, chairman of INSACOG’s scientific advisory group and a leading Indian virologist. He did not say whether the mutations were observed in the Indian variant or another strain.

“Unless you cultivate these viruses and test them in the lab, you can’t say for sure. At this point, there is no reason to believe that they are expanding or if they can be dangerous, but we marked it to keep our eye on the ball, “he said.

INSACOG brings together 10 national research laboratories.

India reported more than 400,000 new cases of COVID-19 for the first time on Saturday. Swirling infections have devastated his health care system in places, including the capital New Delhi, with a shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds. Read more

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