AY.4.2 in India: Six states record 17 cases of new COVID-19 Delta variant .

The AY.4.2 lineage of Covid-19, a subvariant of the Delta coronavirus strain, has appeared in at least six states of India, manifesting in as many as 17 cases reported so far, according to data uploaded on GISAID, an open-source database tracking the genomic signature of coronavirus variants.

While the central government has said that a panel of experts was looking into this new coronavirus strain which is believed to be behind the recent infection explosion in the United Kingdom, British authorities have posited that AY.4.2 could possibly be even more transmissible than Delta, although there currently is no evidence suggesting that it caused more severe diseases or rendered vaccines ineffective.

The most recent cases of AY.4.2 coronavirus variant reported in India was when two suspected cases were identified earlier this week and the samples were sent to a laboratory in Bengaluru for genome sequencing.

As per data available on GISAID, the 17 samples of AY.4.2 found so far in India include – seven in Andhra Pradesh, four in Kerala, two each in Telangana and Karnataka, and one each in Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir.

Professor Francois Balloux, director of the University College London Genetics Institute, told the Financial Times, that the strain could be the most infectious subvariant seen since the pandemic began. He further said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) will likely elevate AY.4.2 to a “variant under investigation”, which means it would be given a name under its Greek letter naming system.

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