Delta plus variant of coronavirus spreading in India, 3 states report cases: Report
As India continues to fight the second wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, it is also struggling to control the increasing spread of the Delta variant, which has further mutated as Delta plus. According to a report by HT’s sister publication Livehindustan, Delta plus, also known as ‘AY.1’ variant or B.1.617.2.1, is considered to be the most dangerous variant of Covid-19.
Three states - Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh - are reporting cases of the delta plus variant in the country.
State health minister Rajesh Tope said on Monday that the state has reported 21 cases of the Delta plus variant. Of these, nine were from Jalgaon, seven from Mumbai and one each from Sindhudurg , Thane and Palgarh districts.
Tope said the Maharashtra government has taken a decision with regard to genome sequencing and has started the process of taking 100 samples from each district, adding the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) is being involved in this process. “Since May 15, 7,500 samples have been taken in which about 21 cases of delta plus have been found,” he said.
Tope also added the vaccination status and travel history of the patients are being ascertained.
Kerala government officials told news agency PTI on Monday that presence of the Delta plus variant has been found in samples collected from Palakkad and Pathanamth districts. The officials added the authorities have taken stringent measures in these areas to prevent its further spread.
In Palakkad, two people have been found infected with the variant while one case has been reported in Pathanamthitta.
Pathanamthitta district collector Dr Narasimhugari T L Reddy said on Monday that the patient is a four-year-old boy from Kadapra panchayat. The variant was detected in a genetic study of the boy’s samples conducted at CSIR-IGIB.
The first case of Delta plus variant in India was reported in a 65-year-old woman from Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal, who had recovered from Covid-19 under home isolation and was also administered two doses of the vaccine. Her samples were collected on May 23 and reports from the National Central for Disease Control (NCDC) on June 16 stated she tested positive for the variant.
However, state medical education minister Vishwas Sarang told news agency PTI on June 17 that a woman tested positive for a ‘different variant’ and refused to give details.
According to the Livehindustan report, four people were found infected with the Delta plus variant in the Shivpuri district. All four succumbed to the variant, Livehindustan said, adding they had been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Meanwhile, the Union health ministry has still not classified the Delta plus variant as a ‘variant of concern’. Last week, NITI Aayog’s Dr VK Paul said the way forward is to watch for the variant’s potential presence in the country and take appropriate public health responses.