Covid-19 pandemic: Delta-plus now a variant of concern, says govt

India’s gene-sequencing consortia has classified the new Delta-plus mutation of coronavirus as a variant of concern, following 22 cases being reported across three states — Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh.

The Delta-plus variant, Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) said, has increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells has the potential to reduce response to monoclonal antibody treatment.

The ministry has issued an advisory to these states to take more focused effective public health response measures. The chief secretaries of these states have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the districts clusters.

The variant is present in nine other countries — the US, the UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, China, Nepal, Russia.

In India, this variant has been found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala; Bhopal Shivpuri districts of Madhya Pradesh.

“Cases look fairly small but we do not want it assuming a significant proportion,” Rajesh Bhushan, health secretary, said.

Twenty-eight labs in the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia are sequencing samples to monitor the variants. So far INSACOG has sequenced 45,000 samples.

Delta Delta Plus variants of Sars-CoV-2 are causing concern among doctors researchers as the world tries to map the spread, virulence potential risks of these mutations.

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