Delta Plus variant: Health ministry alerts Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh
The health ministry also said that India is among the nine countries where the Delta Plus variant has been detected.
The Union health ministry on Tuesday alerted Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh governments on the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 after certain districts reported the presence of the virus in some of the samples tested from these states. It advised the authorities to strictly enforce the Covid-19 protocols and intensify containment measures in the districts where the variant has been found.
“In India, 16 of the 22 cases of Delta Plus variant have been found in Ratnagiri and Jalgaon (Maharashtra) and some cases in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh,” Union health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said during the daily Covid-19 press briefing. The health ministry has advised the chief secretaries of these states to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters on a priority basis. The health ministry’s advisory comes after Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genome Sequencing Consortia (INSACOG) found Delta Plus variant in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon Districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad and Pathanamthitta Districts of Kerala; and Bhopal and Shivpuri districts of Madhya Pradesh.
The health ministry also said that India is among the nine countries where the Delta Plus variant has been detected. It said that the variant has been detected in the US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia. The health ministry said based on data received from the INSACOG so far it found that the Delta Plus variants have three main characteristics -- increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
“The states’ chief secretaries have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters (as identified by INSACOG) including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, conduct widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis,” the health ministry said in a press release.
“They were also advised to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be made for further guidance to be provided to the states,” the release further added.
The health ministry on Tuesday said that the variant has not yet been categorised as ‘variant of concern’ but it is currently accorded the ‘variant of interest’ status.