Delta Plus Variant Not “Variant of Concern” For WHO: Dr Soumya Swaminathan

who is Dr Soumya Swaminathan
Dr Soumya Swaminathan: As the reports of Delta Plus variant propelling the upcoming third wave of COVID-19 surface, Chief scientist at the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Soumta Swaminathan said that it is not a variant of concern for WHO as the infections caused by the variant are still low.

In an interview with NDTV, Dr Swaminathan talked about the issues lingering presently in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic. She said, “At the moment, there is no reason to think that Delta Plus is a new ‘variant of concern’. We need not panic over every new mutation.”

She also talked about vaccine passports and said that there is no logic behind some countries blocking Covishield from their vaccine passports. “This was done mostly on a technicality since the AstraZeneca vaccine is available under a different brand in Europe,” Dr Swaminathan said.

Dr Soumya Swaminathan added, “WHO does not promote the idea of vaccine passports.” She said that the WHO is in talks with the European medical regulator to add Covishielf to the vaccine passports.

“Not everyone across the world has equal access to vaccines and using that as a passport could be discriminatory”- Dr Soumya Swaminathan

On the subject of WHO approval for Covaxin, Swaminathan said that the agency is due to give its decision within a week.

India declared the Delta variant of COVID-19 as a “variant of concern”. The mutation was first detected in India and then in 12 countries such as UK and Australia. So far, over 12 states in India have reported cases of Delta Plus. As per expert takes, the variant might the cause of a possible third wave of the virus in India.

The said Delta Plus variant is named B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1. It has formed because of a mutation called K417N in the Delta variant. The variant is reportedly found in the protein spike of SARS-COV-2. It helps the virus infect human cells.