NEW DELHI: Union Health Ministry said that they have detected a novel variant of the Sars-Cov-2, virus that causes COVID-19.
This has been detected in seven states of India including Maharashtra which sees a second wave of the infection.
In their briefings, the Ministry said that this is an addition to three other "variants of concern" (VOCs) - first noticed in the UK, South Africa and Brazil - that have been found in at least 18 states and union territories (UTs).
COVID-19 virus variant carries mutations, E484Q and L452R, which have separately been linked to characteristics that make the virus spread more readily and defeat immunity from a vaccine.
After Maharashtra, which recorded 206 cases, Delhi has the highest number of infections.
Researchers did not establish whether the second wave is the result of the mutant virus infection.
S K Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said that 771 cases of VOCs have been detected in a total of 10,787 positive samples.