Hyderabad: The new virus variant B.1.617, also known as the double mutant is spreading faster and maybe Telangana is now upward in the curve said Dr. Rakesh Mishra, one of India’s foremost scientists and a member of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortia (INSACOG).
Speaking to Siasat, Dr. Rakesh Mishra said that this new variant B.1.617 or the double mutant has its foot print now in Telangana and Andhra and is more infectious and spreading faster .The speed is more which is what is being observed unless something is done, he cautioned.
Dr. Mishra said that unless we don’t do something the virus will do what it is doing. “We maybe doing vaccinations or other things , but what is very important is to mask properly which is one single deciding factor how many people will be infected, how many lives will be lost or will hospitals be overcrowded as in Delhi, Maharashtra and Karnataka . I am afraid if we don’t do anything then were are exposing ourselves to three kinds of risks because the virus is more infectious” he said.
In the earlier wave, Telangana was one month behind Maharastra or Mumbai. The virus came a month later to Hyderabad and it’s the same thing now where Telangana is now going upward in the curve. But unfortunately government data shows the numbers are stagnant, he added.
Dr. Mishra said that perhaps Telangana is not testing enough and stressed on the fact that RTPCR tests which is most accurate than Rapid antigen test should be done . He also said, there is a need to do 70 to 80 percent of testing adding that testing is not to know the numbers but identify where the infections are.
Following this one can ask people not to move so that virus is frozen because the virus takes a ride on humans who are carriers. If one is not isolated and quarantined then the virus will continue the chain .
He then added that at the moment there is a need to take care and not go to crowded places. Little but important tasks like always wearing a mask , living in ventilated rooms are majority factors that will decide on the numbers going to hospitals and the numbers dying .
Secondly, testing should be done and people should go to hospitals immediately and not go when things are bad. He said that more and more people should be vaccinated . ”Virus will come down in numbers only if people take proper precautions . One cannot sit an wait for virus to do what it is doing we need to break the chain” he said.
Even if people are not sick they may be asymptomatic . To add to the problem this new variant is most infectious and any new variant will be infectious that is how it replaces the earlier virus.
Asked whether B.1.617 will take over the N440k he said that this is normal. It is not different from others as vaccine is still working against this virus but it is more infectious and if we don’t take care then we will end up with crowding at hopsitals .
Dr. Mishra said that it is normal that one variant replaces the other “but sometimes new variant can be a surprise as it may bring more mortality or bring vaccine problem but that has not happened so far we are Lucky.”
Earlier there has been variants like 837 , 838 N440k and now B.1.617. Already four layers of variants have been noticed and maybe other layers have gone unnoticed but what one variant brings is not known.