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AY.4.2 is a new coronavirus sub-lineage that has been characterized as a growing variant: Should we be concerned?
27 Jan' 21

AY.4.2 is a new coronavirus sub-lineage that has been characterized as a growing variant: Should we be concerned?

 

 

What do we know about the subvariant AY.4.2?  

 

New alarm bells have been sounded in the form of a new mutation of the SARS-COV-2, which is beginning to spread in some parts of the world, just as we wait for a potential third wave of coronavirus to spread across the country, with wild predictions being in the coming months of winters.   

According to recent reports, Indian health officials are also looking at a subvariant of the SARS-COV-2 virus, which is suspected to be the reason for a new uptick in cases in the UK in the last few weeks.  

Experts say the discovery, which comes as several COVID-19 regulations are being reduced around the world and cases are alarmingly increasing in China, should be viewed as a sign that the pandemic is far from ended.   

With fears of a third wave rife, here's everything we know about this coronavirus sub-lineage and how dangerous it could be for India:   

  

What is the new coronavirus mutation discovered? Where did it come from?  

   

The SARS-COV-2 virus's newest mutation, 'AY.4.2,' is a sub-lineage of the Delta variation of the infectious virus. The 'Delta Plus' variety is the name given to it at the moment.  

  

According to Columbia University scientists, as many as 75 AY coronavirus lineages have been identified to date, but the concerning one in question, AY.4, is one such sub-variant that is rapidly branching out, and most notably, is deemed to be steadily rising in parts of the UK, which has seen a drastic spike in Delta variant cases for the past few months. According to studies, as many as 63 percent of new cases in the last month have been genomically analyzed and found to carry the AY.4.2 variation. In addition, the AY. 4.2 subline age has been found in portions of Europe, including Denmark and Germany, after being discovered in July.  

  

  

What sets it apart from the previously identified 'Delta Plus' variant?  

 

The Delta Plus variation was previously thought to be a separate mutation, B.1.617.2.1/(AY.1), which was originally discovered in states across India. The variant was labeled a variant of concern (VoC), however, it was thought to be more dangerous than the Delta variant. While the current mutation is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant, it has been identified as being more dangerous because it has been linked to more cases around the world.   

However, both coronavirus mutations branch out from the Delta variety, raising concerns at a critical time when vaccine coverage is still insufficient and many people are returning to pre-pandemic conditions.  

 

Also read According to a new study, more than half of COVID survivors experience symptoms up to six months following recovery.

  

Has it been suggested that it's a concern or an interesting variety yet?  

 

Establishing a variant as a variant of concern (VoC) or a variant of interest (Vol) can aid specialists in conducting additional research and taking appropriate action. The current sub-lineage variant detected in the UK has yet to be labeled as a probable variant of concern or interest, and health authorities in the UK have only guessed that it is a variant under investigation (VUC).   

  

What do we know about the symptoms of this mutation and the potential problems it poses?   

 

Though much about the lineage is yet unknown, specialists believe that its origin from the Delta variation could indicate worsened COVID-19 symptoms, make it more infectious, and spread more quickly. While the Delta variation of coronavirus is estimated to be 60% more infectious, the AY.4.2 lineage could also have been involved.  

  

At this point, how concerned should we be?  

 

There's also no evidence that the current version renders vaccine-driven antibodies or existing immunity ineffective. However, the lineage currently under investigation carries a worrying mutation, A1711V, which disrupts the virus's Nsp3 protein, which plays several roles in viral replication. It also possesses two other alterations that may influence the virus's spike protein.   

  

Researchers haven't been able to pinpoint how infectious it could be, or how quickly it could spread in the future. However, because the lineage is derived from the Delta variation, which has an impact on vaccination, it is prudent to follow all rules, be vigilant, and vaccinate people further to avoid the fate and destruction seen with the second wave. We should be extra cautious and not become complacent in our approach, just as the Delta variation took some time to propagate. 

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