Government says Delta Plus a variant of concern, Identifies 3 characteristics

New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry categorised the Delta Plus variant of the novel coronavirus as a ‘variant of concern’. Delta variant has mutated into Delta Plus which is said to be highly infectious.

According to sources, India reports 40 cases of Delta Plus variant of the novel coronavirus, most of the cases are from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It is still a variant of interest.

The Delta Plus variant observed sporadically in Maharashtra, Kerala & MP, with around 40 cases identified so far and no significant increase in prevalence. These States advised for strengthening surveillance, public health measures, said Government of India

According to INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia), the Delta Plus variant shows increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potentially reduced monoclonal antibody response.

The Ministry of Health has shared the details of characteristics of Delta Plus variant. It said the new variant has three characteristics:

  • Increased transmissibility
  • Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells
  • Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response

Delta variant has mutated into Delta Plus which is highly infectious, added sources.

Which vaccines are effective against the new variants?

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield are effective against the Delta variant, the health ministry has recently said. Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan has said that a separate report shall be shared soon about the extent and proportion of antibody produced by these vaccines.

Besides, Sputnik V is said to be effective against all variants of Covid. “Antibodies developed after vaccination with Sputnik V protect from all variants of COVID known today, starting from the UK variant to the so-called Delta variant, first detected in India,” said Gamaleya Centre head Alexander Gintsburg.

Pfizer is still finalising the agreement in India to supply its vaccines. It is also known to be effective to some extent against Delta variants. However, the protection is against hospitalisation as it is yet to be ascertained whether it can protect against the infection.

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