First case of 'double mutant' COVID-19 variant confirmed in Quebec
MONTREAL -- A fifth variant type of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 has been detected in Quebec.
The health department in the Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Quebec region reported Wednesday that the B.1.617 variant, first sequenced in India, has been reported.
"This is the first case associated with the Indian variant in Quebec," said CIUSSS de la Mauricie-et-du-Centre-du-Quebec information officer Julie Michaud.
It's not the first such case in Canada, but there have been very few in the country. British Columbia confirmed 39 cases of the variant through genome sequencing.
It's known as the "double mutant" because it contains two distinct mutations of the original COVID-19 virus. Each of those mutations has been seen in other variants, separately, but this variant has both at once.
The CIUSSS says the person who tested positive for the variant was already in isolation at the time after another person in his or her household tested positive.
It also seems the case first appeared some time ago, and the person infected is not only healthy now but also vaccinated. It can take several weeks to fully sequence the DNA of variants and enter them into the official record.
"The individual was vaccinated and has recovered," said Michaud.
The region public health department is now investigating the origin of the variant infection, it said.
It said it can't divulge where exactly in the Mauricie region the case was located.
"We will not provide information on the individual's place of residence," said Michaud.
The Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Quebec region has reported 11 cases of the B.1.1.7 (U.K.) COVID-19 variant, but none of the B.1.351 (South African), P.1 (Brazilian), or B.1.525 (Nigerian) variants.
In Quebec, there are 3,443 confirmed COVID-19 variant cases to date, and 24,360 suspected cases.
Despite the investigation into its origins, the new variant case "is not currently under enhanced surveillance, as it has no demonstrated epidemiological or clinical impact," the Quebec Institute of Public Health said.