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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

Double Mutant Variant

Why in News?

A unique “double mutant” coronavirus variant  with a combination of mutations not seen anywhere else in the world — has been found in India.

About:

  • However, it is still to be established if this has any role to play in increased infectivity or in making COVID-19 more severe.
  • Genome sequencing of a section of virus samples by a consortium of 10 laboratories across the country, called the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), revealed the presence of two mutations, E484Q and L452R together, in at least 200 virus samples.
  • Mutations in the virus per se are not surprising but specific mutations that help the virus evolve to thwart vaccines or the immune system or are linked to a spike in cases or in disease severity are causes of concern.
  • While the two mutations have been individually identified in other variants of SARS-CoV-2 globally and have been associated with a reduction in vaccine efficacy, their combined effect and biological implications have not yet been understood.
  • In the days ahead, the INSACOG will submit details of this variant to a global repository called GISAID and, if it merits, classify it as a “variant of concern” (VOC).
  • So far, only three global VOCs have been identified: the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), the South African (B.1.351) and the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.
  • After the new double variant has been submitted to GISAID, it will be categorised under a formal lineage, and will have its own name.

Facts for Prelims:

Parosmia :

  • It is a medical term used to describe a condition in which affected individuals experience “distortions of the sense of smell”.
  • A person with parosmia can detect certain odours, but they might experience the smell of certain things as different and often unpleasant. For instance, to someone with parosmia, coffee may smell like burnt toast.
  • Parosmia is a temporary condition and is not harmful.
  • This abnormality is typically experienced by those people who are recovering their sense of smell following loss from a virus or an injury.
  • Some common triggers of parosmia include roasted, toasted or grilled foods, coffee, onions, chocolate, garlic and eggs.
  • It is likely that parosmia manifests itself due to the damage caused to the olfactory neurons when “the delicate and complex structure in the nose is attacked by a virus.”

 

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