The novel AY.4.2 coronavirus mutation accounts for less than 0.1 percent of all variations of interest or concern at the present, according to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) in its weekly report on Sunday.
According to the panel, the frequency is now too low to be worrying, and vaccination efficacy against it does not appear to vary from that of other Delta variants.
“There is currently no biological basis for increased transmissibility of AY.4.2, as judged epidemiologically, and assays are in progress,” it said.
The INSACOG noted that Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY.x) continues to be the main variant of concern in India and no new variant of interest have been noted till now.
Delta, which was first found in India in October last year, led to the devastating second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in the country, which was at its peak in April and May.
The AY.4.2 was reported to be expanding in England in July this year.
Experts in the UK had said that AY.4.2 contains mutations that might give the coronavirus which causes Covid-19 a greater survival advantage.
“A Delta sublineage newly designated as AY.4.2 is noted to be expanding in England. It is now a signal in monitoring, and assessment has commenced; there are also small numbers of new cases of Delta with E484K and Delta with E484Q,” the UK health security agency had said.
The strain was also detected in at least 30 more countries.
In India, Karnataka had last month reported seven cases of Delta Plus, including two AY.4.2. Three such cases were reported in Bengaluru and the remaining four in different parts of the state.
There were no reports of deaths due to the new variant but around two people were hospitalised.
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya had said that a government panel of experts was looking into AY.4.2.
INSACOG, a consortium of 28 national laboratories, was set up in December 2020 to monitor the genomic variations in SARS-CoV-2, the Covid-19 causing virus. The pan-India network functions under the Union health ministry.