Several Indian states have reported new cases of a sub-lineage of SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant called AY.12. Experts claim that this new sub-lineage might be the reason behind the recent increase in COVID cases in Israel.
Even after 60 percent of the population being fully vaccinated in Israel, the country is seeing a surge in Delta variant cases, according to India Sars Cov2 Genome Consortium (INSACOG’s) weekly update.
The family of Delta variant has now increased from four to 13 by the scientists, reported The Indian Express. Variants that were earlier classified as Delta are now being reclassified as AY.12.
What is AY.12 sub-lineage? What is the difference between AY.12 and Delta variant? What's the situation in Israel like? Should I be concerned? Here's everything you need to know.
What is the new mutation AY.12?
AY.12 is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and has most of its characteristics except one, reported The Indian Express.
The evolution of a viral takes place as they enter a body and start to replicate, and those copies sometimes change a little and that results in the birth of a new mutation.
What is the difference between AY.12 and Delta?
It is not yet proven if AY.12 is different from Delta or B.1.617.2, according to INSACOG, reported The Indian Express.
Although, it has been noted that AY.12 doesn't have some mutations such as G142D in spike proteins that were seen in the Delta lineage.
Apart from that, no new mutation of concern were found in the spike protein of this variant.
When was the first case of AY.12 lineage reported?
The first case of AY.12 lineage was reported in India on 7 September 2020, according to Outbreak.org.
Till 26 August, 44,083 sequences of the same lineage has been recorded across the world.
From India, a total of 78,865 samples are available, of which the state governments have shared 11,016.
67,699 samples have been sequenced so far and 50,869 of them have been analysed properly. Although, in India, only 0.002 of the samples available have been sequenced to date, out of more than 3.2 crore who had been infected.
What's the situation in Israel like?
Currently, AY.12 is a dominant strain in Israel. About 51 percent of the samples that have been studied there have noted that this variant is common.
In the last week, a spike of 20 percent has been noted in the occurrence of this variant based on the number of sequences uploaded on the Global initiative on sharing all influenza data (GISAID) by Indian research groups, reported The Indian Express.
The government of Israel has put restrictions on public gatherings and is now thinking of imposing a lockdown.
Should I be concerned?
Looking at the rapid speed at which AY.12 has increased, one should be careful.
All mutations or variants are not equally harmful. World Health Organization classifies variants under two categories: Variant of interest and variant of concern.
Delta variant has ben classified as a variant of concern and with time it turned out to be more threatening.
The Director of CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology told The Hindu, “A large number of cases in Israel have been linked to AY.12. In India, there are several micro-lineages and some of them are AY.12. We need to wait and watch to see how significant this micro-lineage is in driving infections in India. But as of now, it has exactly the same risk classification, no more and no less than Delta.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and The Hindu)
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