India’s double mutant detected in the U.S.

India's double mutant detected in the U.S.

India’s double mutant detected in the U.S.

The “double mutant” variant of the coronavirus behind the ongoing surge in Covid-19 cases in India has now been detected in the US. The first confirmed infection was reported on Monday.

The new variant of the coronavirus is called “double mutant” because it carries two mutations of the pathogen that triggered the pandemic. Doctors in India noted that mutations in rapidly spreading viruses are common but also alerted that it is a matter of concern but not panic.

Health experts have warned that the U.S. could be heading into a fourth wave of coronavirus cases fueled by new, more infectious strains. However, other experts, such as former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, have predicted that existing immunity coupled with the rise in vaccine administration may stave off a “true fourth wave” of cases in the US.

There is no evidence yet to suggest that the strain evades vaccines more easily, public health experts say the mutations could allow the virus to spread more readily in communities and cause plateauing case numbers in the U.S. to rise significantly.

The variant was first discovered in the Maharashtra state, which is the second most-populous state in India and where Mumbai is located.