'Delta, Alpha variants behind breakthrough Covid cases in India; no new strain'
All breakthrough infections of the coronavirus (Covid-19) disease recorded in India so far have been caused by its Delta and Alpha variants, and no new strain of the virus has been reported in the country so far, said a senior official of the department of biotechnology.
“So far, for all the breakthrough infections that have been sequenced, there has been no other variant identified but for the Delta, and, in some cases, we know that we have Alpha in the country,” DBT secretary Renu Swarup was quoted as saying by news agency ANI on Monday.
A ‘breakthrough’ infection happens when the virus breaches the protection offered by vaccines, leading to infections among inoculated individuals. India has been registering a high number of breakthrough infections, the Indian SARS-CoV2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) said last week, adding vaccination has shown to be effective against severe infection, hospitalisation, and even death.
A genomic sequencing of breakthrough infections has found the highly transmissible Delta variant as the cause.
"As of now, sequencing of vaccination breakthroughs in India is also showing a very high proportion of the Delta variant. Investigations for any new variants are ongoing," INSACOG said, adding that of the 30,230 samples of ‘Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest’ sequenced by the INSACOG, 20,324 were of Delta.
Worldover, breakthrough cases of infection have been driven by the Delta and Delta plus variants. In India, Kerala has reported a large number of such cases. According to experts, breakthrough cases of any virus are expected to a certain extent, since even in clinical trials, no vaccine is 100 per cent effective.
Cases of breakthrough infection have been soaring in the US since May and that has caused many states to bring back mask mandates and start talks on booster shots since the effectiveness of vaccines diminishes over time.