Delta, not Delta Plus: Govt on Tripura's claim of 138 cases
Tripura health department claimed on Saturday that the state has at least 138 cases of Delta Plus, the new variant of Delta recently found in India. A day after, the Union health ministry disputed the claim and said there was no Delta Plus in the samples sent from Tripura to the National Institute of Biomedical Genomics, Kalyani, West Bengal. Clarifying, the Centre said 152 samples were sent from Tripura to the Kalyani institute for genome sequencing. Out of them, 3 samples tested positive for B.1.1.7 the lineage to which both Kappa and Delta variants belong. According to the Union health ministry's information, 11 samples had tested positive for B.1.617.1 (kappa) while 138 samples had tested positive for B.1.617.2 (Delta). "There was no case of Delta Plus reported among these samples," the ministry said on Sunday.
Tripura's state surveillance officer Deep Kumar Debbarma on Saturday said Tripura's West District reported the maximum number of Delta Plus variant cases -- 115. “Delta Plus variant is highly infectious than plain Delta. It can infect the lungs. I appeal to people to follow corona guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus,” said director (health services) Subhasish Debbarma.
Delta Plus is a mutant of Delta and Delta was majorly responsible for the second wave of the pandemic in India. Several states have reported Delta Plus and since Delta is a variant of concern, as categorised by the World Health Organization, Delta Plus has also been classified as a variant of concern. But the union health ministry and its experts have said that it is not yet known whether Delta Plus is more severe than Delta -- in severity and in transmission. They also said Delta Plus cases have been there in India since April. But its spread since April has not established the fact that it is more transmissible than Delta as the cases remain concentrated in pockets.