- The Delta Plus variant has been identified as a Variant Of Concern (VOC) by the Centre.
- Cases of the Delta Plus strain have been discovered in more states after the government issued a warning to Maharashtra, Kerala, and MP after the cases in those states.
- The Delta Plus variant, also known as B.1.617.2.1, is closely connected to the Delta variant, which was a major contributor to Covid-19’s second wave in India.
According to sources, there are over 40 cases of the new Delta Plus strain in the country, which has now been labelled a “Variant of Concern” by the government.
The government issued a warning to Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh yesterday regarding Delta Plus cases found in those states.
Cases of the new strain, a mutation of the Delta strain or B.1.617.2 variety first discovered in India, are not limited to these states, according to sources.
According to sources, Maharashtra has 21 cases, Madhya Pradesh has six, Kerala has three, Tamil Nadu has three, Karnataka has two, and Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, and Jammu each have one.
Delta Plus cases are coming in large parts of India as heavy lockdowns and restrictions are lifted, while coronavirus cases are declining after the deadly second wave struck the country’s health system in April-May.
Delta Plus cases have been discovered in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri and Jalgaon, Kerala’s Palakkad and Pathanamthitta, and Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal and Shivpuri, according to a government advisory issued on Tuesday.
Maharashtra said it is gathering information from persons who have reported this strain of the virus, such as travel history and immunisation status.
They have been advised to take immediate steps to minimise crowds and gatherings, conduct widespread testing, speed tracing, and prioritise vaccination.
“The Center has issued an advisory to these states regarding their public health response. While the measures are largely the same as those implemented previously, they must become more focused and effective. We don’t want this modest number to grow into something bigger,” VK Paul, the head of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration said.
Apart from India, little is known about this strain, which has now spread to nine countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Russia, and China.
The Delta Plus, like the Delta variant that has spread to 80 nations, is extremely infectious and spreads quickly, according to the government.
The Delta Plus indicates “greater transmissibility, higher binding to receptors of lung cells, and probably lower monoclonal antibody response,” according to INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia).
Experts are concerned that it may possibly show resistance to the current Covid treatment protocol. Current vaccines are being questioned as to whether they will be effective against the Delta Plus.
While the two vaccines now in use in India, Covishield from the Serum Institute of India and Covaxin from Bharat Biotech, are effective against the Delta variant, data on how they perform on the Delta Plus variant will be shared later, according to the government.