A health worker collects a swab sample from a woman for Covid-19 test in Sector-31, Gurugram. (HT archive)
A health worker collects a swab sample from a woman for Covid-19 test in Sector-31, Gurugram. (HT archive)

SA, Brazil Covid-19 variants in India: All we know about the two mutations

Four people who flew into India last month were infected with the South African variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, and another traveller was found infected with the Brazilian variant
By HT Correspondent | Edited by Sameer
UPDATED ON FEB 17, 2021 12:04 PM IST

The Centre on Tuesday said four people who flew into India last month were infected with the South African variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, and another traveller was found infected with the Brazilian variant. Here is what we know about the detection of the two mutations:

• Scientists fear the mutations can make coronavirus vaccines less effective and trigger reinfections among people.

• Authorities have carried out contact tracing for the five people, and no other person is found to have contracted the new variants till now.

• People returning from South Africa and Brazil will now be tested more aggressively.

• There are no direct flights from South Africa or Brazil.

Also Read | Surge in Covid-19 cases in Maha: Find out which districts have high caseload

• The health ministry and the civil aviation ministry are in touch on the steps to be taken on the matter.

• India now has all three coronavirus variants that are a global concern -- B.1.1.7, first discovered in the UK; B.1.351, which is now dominant in South Africa; and P.1, which has spread in Brazil.

• All three have a unique collection of mutations, two of which -- N501Y and E484K -- seem to make it spread more readily or cheat vaccine-immunity triggered by the virus predominant in the world.

• The UK variant carries the N501Y mutation.

• The Brazilian variant has the E484K mutation

• The South African variant has both.

• Genomic tests of all positive cases among people, who arrive from Brazil and South Africa, are likely to be carried out.

•The passengers from South Africa and Brazil do not take direct flights. The traffic is largely routed from other sectors like the Gulf.

• The South African strains were found among two people who returned from the country as well as one traveller each from Angola and Tanzania.

• All travellers and contacts have been tested and quarantined.

• The South African and Brazil variants are different from the UK variant.

• The Brazilian and South African variants have the capacity to easily enter the lungs.

• Last year, the Union government created the Indian Sars-Cov-2 Genomic Consortium of 10 laboratories based at the National Centre for Disease Control, Union ministry of health and family welfare, as part of a surveillance mechanism for early detection of variants of concern.

• Experiments in South Africa have shown that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine’s efficacy dropped to an insignificant 22% against the B.1.351 variant.

• South Africa dropped its plan last week to use the vaccine, which is also being used in India as Covishield, and has decided to offer doses to the African Union, where the variant has not reached.

• Vaccine trials carried out by Johnson & Johnson-Janssen and Novavax too showed a significant drop in efficacy due to the variant.

• Similar implications could also hold for people who were previously infected.

• World Health Organization chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on February 14 that they had received new reports of reinfection, including some from South Africa where people who had Covid-19 were infected again.

• The coronavirus outbreak has waned dramatically in India

• Over the past week, the country recorded around 93 deaths a day -- a level not seen since early May.

• The decrease has raised fears that people might become complacent, and that variants such as the three of global concern could take hold, wiping out population immunity and triggering a resurgence.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Kejriwal, whose party had scored a zero in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was visiting Gujarat for the first time in seven years.(PTI)
Kejriwal, whose party had scored a zero in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, was visiting Gujarat for the first time in seven years.(PTI)

In Surat, Delhi CM Kejriwal hails AAP’s poll performance

By Darshan Desai, Ahmedabad
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 04:17 AM IST
In the recently concluded civic body polls, the AAP won 27 of 120 seats in the Surat Municipal Corporation in its debut appearance, thereby emerging the main opposition party against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which won 93 seats.
Close
On Friday, Azad arrived in Jammu on a three-day visit and was received by party workers.(ANI file photo)
On Friday, Azad arrived in Jammu on a three-day visit and was received by party workers.(ANI file photo)

23 Cong letter writers plan drive to ‘save idea of India’

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi, Jammu
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:58 AM IST
The series of rallies and public meetings will kick off on Saturday in Jammu, where former Rajya Sabha member of Parliament Ghulam Nabi Azad, one of the 23, has invited his colleagues.
Close
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there were selective leaks of the opinion of WGAD on Michel’s case.(Reuters )
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said there were selective leaks of the opinion of WGAD on Michel’s case.(Reuters )

India rejects United Nations panel report on Christian Michel

By Rezaul H Laskar, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 03:55 AM IST
The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), which operates under the UN high commissioner for human rights, said that Michel, who has been held in India since December 2018 after being extradited from United Arab Emirates, should be immediately released, according to conclusions reported by AFP.
Close
“We cannot allow sexual harassment complaints to be brushed under the carpet this way,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said.
“We cannot allow sexual harassment complaints to be brushed under the carpet this way,” a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India S A Bobde said.

Can’t ignore complaints of sexual harassment: Supreme Court

By Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:51 AM IST
In her complaint in March 2018, the female judicial officer had accused the former principal district judge of Sheopur of sending lewd messages on WhatsApp.
Close
The bench emphasised that when the career and reputation of a spouse were severely damaged because of the conduct of the other partner, it could not be expected of the former to reconcile and agree to live together again.
The bench emphasised that when the career and reputation of a spouse were severely damaged because of the conduct of the other partner, it could not be expected of the former to reconcile and agree to live together again.

Harming reputation ground for divorce, says Supreme Court

By Utkarsh Anand, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:48 AM IST
An SC bench, headed by justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, held that such demeanour by a wife will certainly amount to inflicting cruelty on the man, and will be grounds for divorce under marital laws.
Close
To be sure, the Indian economy will still face its largest ever contraction in the current fiscal year.(AP file photo. Representative image)
To be sure, the Indian economy will still face its largest ever contraction in the current fiscal year.(AP file photo. Representative image)

India out of recession as GDP expands 0.4% in Q3

By Roshan Kishore, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:43 AM IST
India’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 0.4% on a year-on-year basis in the quarter ending December 2020, according to data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on February 26.
Close
Jaishankar added that once disengagement is completed at all friction points, the two sides “could look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area”.(HT_PRINT)
Jaishankar added that once disengagement is completed at all friction points, the two sides “could look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area”.(HT_PRINT)

‘Peace on LAC must to mend ties’: Jaishankar tells Chinese counterpart

By Sutirtho Patranobis, Shishir Gupta, Rezaul H Laskar, Beijing, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:39 AM IST
EAM Jaishankar’s blunt message was conveyed to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during a 75-minute phone conversation on Thursday — the first formal contact between the two ministers since they met on the margins of a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meeting in Moscow last September.
Close
According to experts, the liquor business in Delhi is shrouded in opacity and controlled by a handful of individuals or groups.(File photo. Representative image)
According to experts, the liquor business in Delhi is shrouded in opacity and controlled by a handful of individuals or groups.(File photo. Representative image)

Business of liquor needs a major detox

By Abhishek Dey, Sweta Goswami
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:31 AM IST
In 2019-20, the city government pegged its revenue from the liquor business at 5,500 crore -- roughly 11% of its total revenue of 51,000 crore. Among major states, an HT analysis showed only in Karnataka and Telangana, liquor revenue formed a bigger percentage of the state’s revenue.
Close
Earlier in the state assembly, Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami announced waiving gold loans up to six sovereigns taken from cooperative banks by the poor and farmers.
Earlier in the state assembly, Tamil Nadu CM Palaniswami announced waiving gold loans up to six sovereigns taken from cooperative banks by the poor and farmers.

Sops galore hours before poll schedule out

By Divya Chandrababu, Chennai, Kolkata
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 02:10 AM IST
Most number of sops came from Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami, who is trying to beat 10 years of incumbency. The state assembly unanimously passed a bill providing 10.5% reservation for influential Vanniyar community within the existing quota of 20% for the Most Backward Classes (MBC).
Close
Arora said the nationwide vaccination drive made the situation more conducive to conduct elections.(PTI )
Arora said the nationwide vaccination drive made the situation more conducive to conduct elections.(PTI )

Crucial election cycle in 5 states to start on March 27

By Deeksha Bhardwaj, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 01:39 AM IST
Votes in Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry will be counted on May 2, said chief election commissioner Sunil Arora. All Covid-19 election guidelines, including limiting the number of electors, regulating physical campaigning and road shows and sanitising booths and personnel, will be in place, he added.
Close
The states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam account for 13% out of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha.(File photo. Representative image)
The states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Assam account for 13% out of the 543 seats in Lok Sabha.(File photo. Representative image)

Five charts that explain the upcoming elections

By Abhishek Jha, Roshan Kishore
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 01:22 AM IST
Three out of the four states going to polls; Assam, West Bengal and Kerala are also the top three states by share of Muslims in the population. With 26.7% Muslims and 16.6% Christians, Kerala has the lowest share of Hindus -- to be sure, they are still a majority – among India’s important states.
Close
Referring to some of the new acquisitions, experts said IAF’s fighter, helicopter and transport fleets played a crucial during the Ladakh standoff that began last May.(PTI file photo)
Referring to some of the new acquisitions, experts said IAF’s fighter, helicopter and transport fleets played a crucial during the Ladakh standoff that began last May.(PTI file photo)

IAF adds muscle to firepower in 2 yrs since Balakot

By Rahul Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 27, 2021 01:06 AM IST
Indian Air Force's (IAF’s) Mirage-2000s struck targets in Balakot in response to the Pakistan-backed Pulwama suicide attack in Kashmir in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed on February 14.
Close
Celeste goes on to add how, in a meeting with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif shortly after this, Clinton asked him to “withdraw troops” from Kargil.(ANI file photo. Representative image)
Celeste goes on to add how, in a meeting with Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif shortly after this, Clinton asked him to “withdraw troops” from Kargil.(ANI file photo. Representative image)

When Pakistan failed to get support during Kargil

By Sunetra Choudhury, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:54 AM IST
In a new book, Life in American Politics & Diplomatic Years in India published by Har-Anand Publications, Richard Celeste, the US ambassador to India between 1997 and 2001, reports a visit he received from Pakistan’s Ambassador to India, Ashraf Qazi.
Close
The court further asked Kaur to maintain restraint while on bail to ensure that no law and order issue arises due to her actions.
The court further asked Kaur to maintain restraint while on bail to ensure that no law and order issue arises due to her actions.

‘Did not break any law’: Nodeep Kaur after HC grants bail

By HT Correspondent, Chandigarh/karnal
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:39 AM IST
Addressing mediapersons, Kaur said, “I did not break any law and cannot think of doing so in future. But I raise voice against exploitation of labourers and farmers by the big corporate houses. Such influential people cannot tolerate this and try to suppress their voice.”
Close
Wildlife activist Sangeeta Dogra said in her petition that villagers arranged a felicitation function for the shooter, a professional hunter, on November 14, 2018.(HT file photo. Representative image)
Wildlife activist Sangeeta Dogra said in her petition that villagers arranged a felicitation function for the shooter, a professional hunter, on November 14, 2018.(HT file photo. Representative image)

SC rejects contempt plea, says tigress Avni killed in accordance with order

By Abraham Thomas, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON FEB 27, 2021 12:19 AM IST
The Court issued notices to Maharashtra principal secretary Vikas Kharge, principal chief conservator forests (Nagpur), deputy conservator forests (Nagpur), deputy conservator forests (Pandharkawada) and member secretary, NTCA, on February 10 on a petition filed by a wildlife activist Sangeeta Dogra.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP