New ‘Delta plus’ COVID-19 variant found in India
Published: 04:30 PM, 23 June 2021 Updated: 09:33 PM, 23 June 2021
India has declared the "Delta Plus" variant, a new mutant COVID-19 version of the Delta strain, to be of concern after 22 cases had been detected in three states of the country so far.
The states, where the variant AY.1 has been found, are - Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.
India’s health ministry said on Tuesday that Delta Plus showed increased transmissibility and advised the three states to increase testing.
“Based on the recent findings of INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia), the health ministry has alerted and advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh regarding the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 found in these states,” a ministry statement said.
INSACOG is a consortium of India’s premier medical and scientific bodies, including the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.
Like the Delta strain, which has now spread to 80 countries, the Delta Plus is considered highly infectious and fast-spreading.
According to INSACOG, the Delta Plus also shows stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potentially reduced monoclonal antibody response.
It may also show resistance to existing treatment protocol for Covid. There are concerns over whether current vaccines will be effective against the Delta Plus.
The Indian government said while the two vaccines being used in India, Serum Institute of India's Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin, are effective against the Delta variant, data on how they work on the Delta Plus would be shared later.