What Is The Triple Mutant Coronavirus Variant? What To Know About The Strain Found In India, Per Experts
- One SARS-CoV-2 variant found in India has been dubbed the “triple mutant variant.”
- Experts say the name is misleading, and it is not currently considered a variant of concern by the CDC.
- The available COVID-19 vaccines still offer protection against this and other variants.
India’s battle with a second wave of COVID-19 is making headlines with record-breaking daily cases and a rising death toll. The country recently surpassed more than 345,000 new COVID-19 cases in a single day, the biggest total recorded globally since the pandemic began.
It’s a grim reminder that the pandemic is far from over, even as the U.S. hits promising vaccination milestones.
Some experts are pointing to an emerging “triple mutant strain” or “triple mutant variant” of coronavirus as one possible reason for the uptick in India’s cases. While the term may sound scary, it’s simply another strain among many throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Viruses are constantly changing through mutations, and variants have been emerging from the very beginning of the pandemic. So far, only a few are of real concern, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here’s what you need to know about the triple mutant variant, according to infectious disease experts.
What is the triple mutant variant of COVID-19?
First of all, the name is a simplified description and can be misleading. This variant actually has many more mutations. “It’s a shorthand for three mutations that are significant,” says Amesh Adaljia, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health. “There are three mutations amongst a whole cluster of mutations that have been associated with increased transmissibility or immune evasion.”
Researchers, including Divya Pej Sowpati a scientist leading COVID-19 genomics at the Centre For Cellular And Molecular Biology in India, have tweeted explanations to counter misinformation circulating. “Triple Mutant: Again, WRONG name, because it has many more defining mutations. Dubbed “triple” because in addition to the two mutations, it also has V382L in its Spike. This is a sub-lineage of B.1.617, found mainly in MH samples and also a bit in other states.”
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