India’s ‘double mutant’ Covid strain found in US
A “double mutant” strain of the coronavirus first discovered in India has now been detected in the US. The first confirmed infection was reported on Monday. It was found in a patient tested by Stanford Health Care Clinical Virology Laboratory in California, according to news reports. The case was detected in the San Francisco Bay Area, as reported by The Hill.
The new strain of the coronavirus is called “double mutant” because it carries two mutations of the pathogen.
It has hit the US amid growing concerns about an impending surge fuelled by new variations and complacency following reports of high vaccination rates.
“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.
A response was awaited from the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a request for confirmation of news reports about the new variant.
EMA has ‘not yet reached conclusion’ on AZ vaccine
The EU’s drug regulator said on Tuesday it is still deciding whether the AstraZeneca vaccine causes blood clots, after a top official said there was a clear link. The European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) safety committee “has not yet reached a conclusion and the review is currently ongoing”, the Amsterdam-based EMA said in a statement. “We will communicate and hold a press briefing as soon as the review is finalised.”
The statement came after the EMA’s head of vaccine strategy, Marco Cavaleri, was quoted in the media as saying there was a “clear” connection and the agency would announce it.
US President Joe Biden was set to announce on Tuesday that all adults in America will be eligible for Covid-19 vaccines by April 19, two weeks earlier than his previous goal, a White House official said. He will also announce that 150 million doses of vaccine were administered within his first 75 days in office.
Brazil’s brutal surge in deaths will soon surpass the worst of a record January wave in the US, climbing well beyond an average 3,000 Covid-19 fatalities per day, scientists are saying, as contagious new variants overwhelm hospitals. Brazil’s overall death toll trails the US outbreak, with nearly 333,000 killed, compared with more than 555,000 dead in the United States.
New Zealanders and Australians rushed to book flights on Tuesday as the tourism industry welcomed the “lifeline” of a travel bubble between the largely Covid-free neighbours.
With inputs from agencies