Tuesday, December 7th, 2021

India has discovered 17 samples of Covid variant AY.4.2, which was responsible for hundreds of cases in the United Kingdom

AY.4.2 is a sub-lineage of the Delta variety of SARS-CoV-2, which is the most common strain in India at the time of this writing. The World Health Organization has not classified it as a ‘variant of concern.’

The SARS-CoV-2 strain AY.4.2 has been found in at least 17 samples from India, with the first sample being obtained in May of this year.

AY.4.2 is a sub-lineage of the Delta form of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is responsible for the disease. Delta has remained the most prevalent version in use in India for the foreseeable future.

According to data uploaded to GISAID, an open-access genomic database of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic, seven samples of AY.4.2 were discovered in Andhra Pradesh, four in Kerala, two each in Karnataka and Telangana, and one each in Jammu and Kashmir and Maharashtra.

After it was discovered with greater frequency in the United Kingdom, AY.4.2 sparked worry. As many as 18,207 sequences of AY.4.2 have been uploaded to the GISAID database from as far away as the United Kingdom. A total of 16,891 of these were discovered in the United Kingdom alone.

However, the World Health Organization has not yet classified AY.4.2 as a ‘variant of concern,’ which is a word used to characterize alterations that make a variation more infectious or lethal than the rest of the population (WHO).

Ay 4.4 in the UK

According to statistics on outbreak.info, there has been a significant increase in the frequency of the AY.4.2 variation found in the United Kingdom since September (a project by scientists at Scripps Research in the US to unify Covid-19 and SARS-CoV-2 genomic data and published research). Its frequency has climbed to as high as 10% during the previous several weeks, according to the latest data.

Francois Balloux, Professor of Computational Systems Biology and Director, UCL Genetics Institute, said in a statement released on October 19 that the variant carries two characteristic mutations in the spike, Y145H, and A222V, both of which have been found in various other SARS-CoV-2 lineages since the beginning of the pandemic but have remained at low frequency until now.

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