India has detected a new “double mutant variant” of the novel coronavirus, the health ministry said, adding to concern as the government struggles with the highest single-day tally of new infections and deaths this year.
Genome sequencing and analysis of samples from Maharashtra state found mutations in the virus that do not match previously catalogued “variants of concern” (VOC), the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Maharashtra is one of India’s worst-affected states but the ministry said it was not clear if the new variant was causing a surge there or in other states.
“Though VOCs and a new double mutant variant have been found in India, these have not been detected in numbers sufficient to either establish a direct relationship or explain the rapid increase in cases in some states,” the ministry said in a statement but did not elaborate.
India has already reported several cases of a variant first detected in Britain, as well as ones first found in South Africa and Brazil.