Doctors in India are warning of new variants of the coronavirus that are springing up around the country, saying that they could “possibly evade immune response” from natural antibodies or vaccines, Reuters reports.
India has experienced a sudden and serious surge of new coronavirus infection, which scientists investigating whether a new variant dubbed b.1.617 being the cause of the rapid spread. At this point, the World Health Organization has not labeled the so-called “Indian variant” a “variant of concern,” meaning that it hasn’t yet been proven to spread more quickly or cause more severe symptoms. However, the WHO has modeled the spread of the virus adaptation and determined that it could potentially spread at a higher rate than the New York, British, Brazilian or South African variants.
“We are seeing some mutation coming up in some samples that could possibly evade immune responses,” said Shahid Jameel, chair of the scientific advisory group of INSACOG and a top Indian virologist. “Unless you culture those 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 flagged it so that we keep our eye on the ball.”