The Union Health Ministry on Tuesday said Delta Plus is “currently a variant of concern”.
The Delta Plus variant, a novel mutant version of the Delta strain of Covid initially discovered in India, has been labeled a “variant of concern” by the central government. This comes only weeks after India started to see a drop in COVID-19 cases after a lethal second wave that saw cases reach 4-lakh per day. Ratnagiri and Jalgaon in Maharashtra, Palakkad, and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, and Bhopal and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh have all reported cases of the new strain.
“A variant of concern is one in which we have understood that there are adverse consequences for humanity by increase in transmissibility and severity. This is not known yet about the Delta plus variant,” Dr Paul had said.
Delta Plus variant
The Delta Plus variant is a mutation of the B.1.617.2 strain, which the World Health Organization called Delta. Experts believe the Delta variant was responsible for the second wave of COVID-19, which infected millions and killed thousands.
The Delta Plus Variant, according to an official announcement, has revealed
- Increased transmissibility
- Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells
- Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response
Meanwhile, the ministry has instructed Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh to implement rapid containment measures, including increased testing, tracking, and vaccination in areas and clusters where the Delta Plus strain has been identified.
It has also requested that these states transmit appropriate samples of positive people to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium (INSACOG) laboratories as soon as possible so that clinical epidemiological connections can be developed.
The World Health Organisation classified the Delta variant as a variant of concern on May 10.