By Joymala BagchiNew Delhi [India], June 25 (ANI): Delta Plus or AY.1 will always remain a variant of concern (VoC) as it is mutated from the Delta variant (B.1.617.2), which is also a VoC, informed the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) on Friday.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) termed the Delta variant as a VoC and said it is more powerful than the Alpha variant that has lineage B.1.1.7. Recently, Delta Plus has also been tagged as VoC by the Centre.
In eight states more than 40 cases of Delta Plus variant have been detected so far across the country.
Dr Anurag Agarwal, Director, IGIB told ANI, "The finding so far looks same as Delta. If Delta is a variant of concern, Delta Plus also comes as a variant of concern.""Delta Plus is a mutation from the delta. The current one may not be important for transmissibility but may be important for immune escape or may be important for antibody response. We do not expect a change in transmissibility of the new mutation," Dr Agarwal said.
The genome sequencing of Delta Plus revealed K417N mutation in the Delta genomic background.
As many as 202 sequences corresponding to this variant have been found in 11 countries with the highest numbers of cases being reported from the US (82) and within it the state of California (62).
Nationwide close to 50,000 genome sequencing have been done so far in the country informed the director.
Asked about its severity, Dr Agarwal said, "(Delta) Plus means a new mutation and not more dangerous and is under investigation. Delta Plus is not assumed to be more dangerous than Delta. From a global classification point of view, it is a VoC. Only if cases are added in the coming months it will be known, however, the public health response should be appropriate, cautioned, and should be treated as a VoC for the time being.""Although the virus has not fundamentally changed very much in fact is very much similar with the original virus the mutations changes with the parameters such as transmissibility and immune escape," observed Dr Agarwal.
A study by IGBI a few weeks ago showed the Delta variant's proportion doubled to 10 per cent in March from 5 per cent in February and afterward dominated the Alpha variant by April that accounted for 60 per cent of the sequenced samples.
Talking about the vaccine efficacy on Delta Plus variant Dr Agarwal replied, "All vaccines have shown reduction against severe disease for all variants."However, the expert cautioned that COVID appropriate behaviour needs to be followed as a rule to further lower the cases.
"We are still having 50,000 cases a day. The vaccine may change a little for new generations to come but the mask will remain a mask and less crowd will remain less crowd," said Dr Agarwal.
Till date, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh reported deaths due to the new Delta Plus variant. (ANI)