First case of Indian coronavirus variant found in US

The Indian variant was found in a patient from the San Francisco Bay Area by Stanford’s Clinical Virology Laboratory, reports Asian Lite News.

One case of a new Covid-19 variant first detected in India has now been found in the United States. Spotted first by researchers at Stanford University, the variant was found in Northern California.

The variant in question has two mutations — one similar to the variation found in the strain from California which was spotted in the spiky protein which the virus attaches itself to.

The Indian variant was found in a patient from the San Francisco Bay Area by Stanford’s Clinical Virology Laboratory, as reported by NBC, citing a spokesperson from Stanford. This marks the first case of the variant in the United States.

It has hit the US amid growing concerns about an impending surge fuelled by new and emerging variations and complacency engendered by high rates of vaccination – more than 3 million a day recently, with a record of 4 million last Saturday – being reported from around the country.

 “This Indian variant contains two mutations in the same virus for the first time, previously seen on separate variants,” Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious diseases expert at University of California San Francisco, told San Francisco Chronicle.

The variant was first detected last month by Indian health officials. India had witnessed a slowdown of the spread of Covid-19 in the last few months of 2020. But in March 2021, cases continued to rise across the country, nearing 100,000 daily infections in April.

Cases in California are currently declining after witnessing a surge in the winter months due to which cases increased in November running into the new year.

This relief in terms of numbers has prompted California authorities to begin reopening parts of the state, starting with its most populous county in Los Angeles.

Even then, California is the hardest-hit state in the US, recording more than 3.5 million known infections and 58,000 deaths, as per data from California’s health department.

The new variant is said to be responsible for the surge in new daily cases seen since over the past few weeks. From around 9,100 on February 15, the number of new infections shot up in a matters of weeks to103,000 on April 4, according to the US-based Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker.

A response was awaited from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a request for confirmation of reports about the new variant from India and for details about the nature of the threat posed by it, and whether it was resistant to the three vaccines being administered in the US now – Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

The CDC has been tracking new and emerging mutations of the coronavirus and it currently has five of them on its radar, according to an April 2 post on its website.

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