70 Delta Plus variant cases found across 16 states, UT: Govt tells Lok Sabha
As many as 70 cases of Delta sub-lineage AY.1, also known as Delta Plus variant, of coronavirus were found in genome sequencing, Union science and technology minister Jitendra Singh said on Friday. In a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, the minister said that 58,240 samples of Sars-CoV-2 have been sequenced in India so far, out of which 46,124 were analysed by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).
"A total of 70 Delta Plus strains have been found as on 23.07.2021," Singh said.
The detection of the Delta Plus variant had initially caused concerns for authorities as the country was already reeling under the disastrous second wave of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, largely driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. The Delta Plus strain is characterised by the B.1.617.2 variant acquiring another mutation, K417N, also found in the B.1.351 or Beta variant.
Earlier this month, however, INSACOG said in a bulletin that the sub-lineages of Delta variant were unlikely to be more transmissible than Delta. The consortium of government panels involved in sequencing noted that the cases of Delta sub-lineages AY.1 and AY.2 are declining globally, adding that there was no indication of a rising trend in four of the identified clusters in India.
The highest number of Delta Plus variant cases in India was detected in the state of Maharashtra (23), followed by Madhya Pradesh (11), Tamil Nadu (10), and Chandigarh (4). Kerala and Karnataka reported three cases of Delta Plus variant each, while two each in Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, and Telangana. The states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Jammu, Rajasthan, Odisha and Himachal Pradesh reported one Delta Plus variant case each.
The sequencing found 4,172 cases of the Alpha variant and 217 cases of Beta variant across the country.
Singh said that INSACOG collects samples through the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) network for public health purposes to assess the impact on transmissibility and disease severity. The 28 laboratories involved in the task of genome sequencing are located in 13 states and Union Territories.
(With PTI inputs)