Located in the east of the country, the state of West Bengal borders five states of India and Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. According to the Ministry of Health of India, over the past day, 9,819 new coronavirus cases were detected in the state; in total, more than 58.3 thousand people are being treated for COVID.
“B. 1. 618 is a new line of SARS-CoV-2, predominantly found in India and characterized by a separate set of genetic variants, including E484K, the main variant of evading the immune response,” Scaria said on Twitter.
This is the second line of coronavirus that has been identified from India, the first being B. 1. 617, also known as the double-mutated coronavirus variant.
The E484K mutation in the spike protein is common to the “South African,” “Brazilian,” and “Bangladeshi” strains. With this mutation in the protein, glutamic acid is replaced by lysine in the amino acid position 484, which, according to some experts, may reduce the effectiveness of monoclonal antibodies in neutralizing the virus.
“The initial sequences in the B. 1.618 lineage were discovered in the Indian state of West Bengal. Members of this lineage are also found in other parts of the world but do not have the full range of variants as in India,” Skaria said.
According to the scientist, ” this line is characterized by deletion (chromosomal rearrangement) of 6 nucleotides (H146del and Y145del), in addition to E484K and D614G in the spike protein. Other variants are found in the ORF1ab, ORF3a, ORF7a, ORF7b, and N genes.”
He also noted that “the share of B. 1. 618 in the Indian state of West Bengal has increased significantly in recent months.”
India is facing a second wave of pandemic. Since February of this year, the number of coronavirus cases has increased dramatically, exceeding 2 million people. At the same time, the disease was detected in more than 15.6 million people, more than 13.2 million people recovered, and 182 thousand people died from coronavirus and related diseases.