a covid-19 blood test tube with result of positive on yellow background the X has clipping path and can be removed. COVID-19 testing concept. Antibody tests concept. Image credit: 罗 宏志 / 123rf. COVID-19 cases now number at one million: concept. Testing illustration. Symptomatic COVID-19 illustration. Cases of COVID-19 in India concept. COVID-19 clusters concept.. new covid-19 variant mutant strain
Image credit: 罗 宏志 / 123rf

Cases of the mutant strain of COVID-19 first detected in the United Kingdom now number at 82 in India, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The mutant strain of the disease – caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) – has raised concerns as it is considered more contagious than other variants. According to The Lancet, “various modelling exercises have estimated [the new COVID-19 variant] to be up to seventy percent more transmissible than the previously circulating form of the virus.” However, The Lancet added, the mutant strain is “no worse than the previous dominant strain of SARS-CoV-2 in terms of the risk of hospital admission, severity of illness, or mortality.”

Those who have tested positive for the mutant strain and their close contacts are under quarantine – the former group in designated healthcare facilities in their respective states. Contact tracing and genome sequencing of the mutant strain is underway. 

Earlier this week, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare assured that “the situation is under careful watch and regular advice is being provided to the states for enhanced surveillance, containment, testing and dispatch of samples to Insacog labs.” Additionally, India recently became the first country to culture the new COVID-19 variant according to the Indian Council of Medical Research.

At the time of writing, India remains the world’s second worst-affected country in terms of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections so far according to Worldometer data. Total infections number at more than ten million, with only the United States having recorded more cases during the pandemic. 

However, India continues to boast a high recovery rate and active cases account for 2.16 percent of total cases thus far according to officials. According to Worldometer, India ranks thirteenth in the world in terms of active infections. The United States again takes the top spot on that front, followed by France, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Belgium, Italy, Russia, Germany, Serbia, Ukraine, Mexico and Poland respectively.