Tech & Science dictionary

double mutant variant

double mutant strain [ duhb-uhl myoot-nt vair-ee-uhnt ]

What is a double mutant variant?

Double mutant variant is a term used to refer to a variant of a virus with two mutations. The term has been most commonly used to refer to a particular variant of the COVID-19 virus first reported in March 2021. This variant is thought to have emerged in the Indian state of Maharashtra, but has also been reported in other locations, including in the US in California.

A mutant is an organism that undergoes a mutation. The word variant is used in microbiology to refer to a form of a virus that mutated from another strain. All variants of a virus are the result of a mutation. A double mutant variant of a virus is so-called because it is the result of two simultaneous mutations.

There are likely other COVID-19 variants with multiple mutations, but the term double mutant variant has been associated with the one first documented by Indian health officials in March 2021. There is evidence of a link between this double mutant variant and the rapid increase in COVID-19 infections in the country around the time that it was first reported.

In the context of COVID-19, the term double mutant variant is often used interchangeably with double mutant strain.

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Related words

ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, contact tracing, long-hauler, coronaversary

Where does double mutant variant come from?

The term double mutant variant has been used since at least the 1980s, but it was first used in reference to a COVID-19 variant by Indian health officials and in news reports in March 2021. Though the term is not in common technical use by scientists, it became a popular way of referring to the strain of the virus that resulted from two mutations.

Medical testing confirmed the presence of the double mutant variant in patients treated during the infection spikes in multiple Indian states in early 2021. The discovery of the double mutant variant became the subject of major media stories in India and internationally, leading to an increase in the awareness and use of the term.

This particular double mutant variant has two mutations (labeled E484Q and L452R) that were previously discovered in other mutated strains. Studies of each of these individual mutations have shown that they cause the COVID-19 virus to spread more easily. Scientists and health officials sometimes label such variants as variants of concern due to their ability to increase spread.

There is not yet any evidence that existing COVID-19 vaccines are less effective against the double mutant variant, and vaccines have proven to be effective against other variants.

Examples of double mutant variant

So now there’s a “double mutant variant” of COVID-19?! I feel like I’m living in a comic book
@elicitfolio, April 5, 2021
India’s health ministry said on Wednesday that a new “double mutant variant” of the coronavirus and other “variants of concern” have been detected across 18 of the country’s states.
Akshita Jain, The Independent, March 24, 2021

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Who uses double mutant variant?

The term double mutant variant came to widespread attention after use in news reports about the variant of COVID-19 that is thought to have emerged in India. The term is not in common technical use among scientists.

 

What other words are related to double mutant variant?

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This is not meant to be a formal definition of double mutant variant like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of double mutant variant that will help our users expand their word mastery.