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Published on April 17, 2021 5:26 AM

by Thomas Moore

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India's 'double mutation' COVID-19 variant found in UK The two mutations would have on the effectiveness of existing vaccines
 
The new Indian variant of the COVID virus that's been detected in the UK has all the hallmarks of a very dangerous virus.

It has two new significant mutations in the spike protein that help it infect cells and evade the immune system.

New figures from Public Health England show there have been 73 cases detected in England and another four in Scotland.

The variant - officially named B.1.617 - is almost certainly playing a part in the very sharp spike in the epidemic in India.

It has been detected in at least five Indian states that are hotspots for the surge, with more than 200,000 new cases of COVID detected nationwide on Wednesday.

One of the concerning mutations, called L452R, is also found in a variant circulating in California, though there is no link between the viruses. The Indian variant has evolved independently.