Madhya Pradesh: Indore jittery over triple mutant scare

INDORE:

Entry of triple mutant variant of Covid-19 also referred to immune escape variant has compounded the woes of Indore which is battling Corona spread. Sudden rise in deaths in the city in the first week of April has been attributed to the triple mutant that was detected in March 2021.

Much to the shock of officials, approximately 288 out of 608 samples returned positive for variant of concerns, double mutant variant and triple mutant variant in the city. More than 26 of them were of the ‘immune escape variant’. These samples were sent to National Centre For Disease Control New Delhi and National Institute of Virology, Pune in March for genome sequencing to National.

These samples included 118 women and 170 men and much to the concern, 17 children up to the age of 10 years, including those of one, three and four years.

The variants of concern found in the samples of Indore were E484Q, L452R, P681H and Q107H. The triple mutant variant found in samples in Indore was N501Y, P681H, 69/70 Del.

However, the government did not make the report public. Two months after receiving the report, the state government directed officials to trace the patients and track contact.

Additional Chief Secretary Mohammad Suleman didn’t respond to the query while city officials also refused to comment over the same.

MGM Medical College Dean Dr Sanjay Dixit said, “It seems mutation in the virus has led to sudden spurt in cases. However, whatever be the variant adherence to social distancing, wearing mask and using sanitizer is the only way to prevent the disease. People should also take vaccine to break the chain.” Meanwhile, nodal officer of Covid-19 Dr Amit Malakar said that he was unaware of the development.

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People refuse to give samples”

Sources claimed that the genome sequencing report shocked the health department. It has directed city officials to trace these patients and collect samples of their family members too.

However, city health department faced several hiccups in tracing the patients and contact tracing as many of them refused to give samples.

“Many people refused. They have already tested negative for the virus. On being informed about genome sequencing, they said that they tested positive in February and March. They have been cured for more than two months. Many of them demanded written orders,” sources said.

Contact tracing in-charge Dr Anil Dongre said, “We received a list of people and instructions to trace them and take samples of their family members. We sent teams for the same. Yes, many people refused but we tried to pacify them.”

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What is ‘immune escape’ variant?

The immune escape variant means that this variant of the virus cannot be ‘killed’ by the antibody developed in the body. It implies that it nullifies claims of presence of antibodies or immunity against the virus. It can also be the reason for re-infection.

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