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21 Cases Of Delta Plus Variant In Maharashtra, 3 States Under Scanner: All You Need To Know

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Delta Plus Variant Cases in India: The Centre last week said the ‘Delta Plus’ variant had been around since March this year and warned about a possible third wave.

In latest, twenty-one cases of the COVID-19 (Delta variant) have been found in Maharashtra, the state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said today. The Union health ministry has still not classified the Delta plus variant as a “variant of concern”. It is currently only a “variant of interest”.

India is slowly emerging from the second way of the pandemic. However, there is a growing concern about the parent variant’s most recent mutation, known as the Delta Plus.

Delta Plus Variant Cases in India: Here’s all you need to know about the new variant, formed by mutation in the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant:

1. The spread of the Delta variant or ‘B.1.617.2 variant’ of SARS-CoV-2 has further mutated into another strain called ‘Delta plus’ or ‘AY.1’ or ‘B.1.617.2.1’ variant. AY.1 is characterised by the acquisition of K417N mutation alongside the earlier Delta mutation in N501Y. The mutation is in the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which helps the virus enter and infect the human cells, TOI reported.

2. This new variant, which was first identified in India, wasn’t widespread but has been reported from three states now. They are: Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. More here.

3. According to a reports, Delta plus variant is touted to be the most dangerous variant of COVID-19,reportedly it is capable of evading both immunity from vaccination as well as that generated from earlier infections. Read more on the Delta plus variant described by a clinician and scientist at Delhi’s CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology here.

4. “A variant of concern is in which we have understood that there are adverse consequences to humanity by an increase in transmissibility and severity. This is not known yet about the Delta plus variant,” NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul had said.

5. Prof Shahid Jameel, one of the top virologists in India and former member of the INSACOG (a forum set up for surveillance and genome sequencing Covid-19 strains in the country), fears that there is a reason to believe that Delta Plus is resistant to both antibody and vaccine immunity, as well as treatments that prevent COVID-19 from progressing, such as the new monoclonal antibody treatment which has shown promising preliminary results, India Today reported.

6. He further made the point that there is no evidence that Delta Plus is more transmissible yet, but it has not only all of the characteristics of the original Delta variant but also a mutation known as K417N, which was discovered in the Beta variant in South Africa.

7. Scientifically, Paul had said, the effect and change of Delta plus has to be watched through our INSACOG system. This has to be detected and we have to see its presence in the country.

8. According to GISAID, an initiative to study virus genome sequencing, there were 63 cases of the variant worldwide as of June 17. Six were reported from India. The variant frequency for K417N is mostly reported from Europe, Asia and America.

9. There is no indication of the severity of the disease due to the new variant so far. Delta Plus (AY.1) is resistant to monoclonal antibodies cocktail.

10. Prof Shahid Jameel warned that if people do not follow protocol, we could expect the third wave in six weeks.

Feature Image Credit: DNA India