COVID variant AY.4.2 not cause for concern right now: INSACOG

The Delta sub-lineage virus is showing a very low level of prevalence in India, says the Health Ministry-run research body

The AY.4.2 variant of COVID is showing a frequency of less than 0.1% among all variants of interest and variants of concern.

While the Delta variant of COVID wreaked havoc across the world, particularly India, the next variant — a Delta sub-lineage — may be a tamer one. The AY.4.2 variant is showing a frequency of less than 0.1% among all variants of interest (VOI) or variants of concern (VOC), and is therefore not much cause for concern at this juncture, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has said.

What’s more, the vaccine effectiveness on AY.4.2 does not seem to be different compared to other Delta variants, INSACOG said in its weekly bulleting. “There is currently no biological basis for increased transmissibility of AY.4.2, as judged epidemiologically, and assays are in progress,” it added.

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Even as the second wave of COVID has subsided, Delta (B.1.617.2 and AY.x) continues to be the main VOC in India, said INSACOG, adding that no new VOI or VOC has been detected.


INSACOG is a consortium of 28 national laboratories established in December 2020 under the Union Health Ministry. It is mandated to monitor the genomic variations in the COVID-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2.

The AY.4.2 has been largely present in the UK, accounting for a number of new cases there. It has also been spotted in 42 other countries including India, though not to such a large extent.

While the variant has not proved very virulent yet, scientists have expressed concern about combinations of mutations in other sub-lineages of Delta, called AY.1 and AY.2.