How many mutations can Delta variant have? Here’s what government says
- The B.1.617 strain of coronavirus, also known as the Delta variant and first reported in India in October 2020, has three subtypes, one of which is B.1.617.2 or Delta plus variant feared as the 'variant of concern'
Known for its deadly nature, the Delta plus variant of Covid-19 has lately been grappling the country. Amid this, the Centre on Tuesday said that the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 can have about 15 to 17 mutations.
Taking to Twitter, the government said the B.1.617, also known as Delta variant, which was first reported in India in October 2020, has three subtypes, including B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3. Of these, the first and the third variants have been hailed as “variant of interest,” while the second variant – Delta plus, has been classified as “variant of concern.”
This update comes after the Centre on Tuesday stated that the number of Delta plus variant of Covid-19 cases has increased to 51 cases, up from 48, in India. The Centre on Monday pointed out that 12 Indian states and Union territories, and an equal number of countries so far have reported the presence of the variant. This was detailed on the basis of the data provided by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which identified the Delta Plus variant from among more than 45,000 samples collected during April, May and June.
The ICMR further stated that the Delta plus variant is very localised in India, and that it has been isolated and cultured at National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune.
Of the 51 Delta plus cases, Maharashtra has the majority number of cases. The state is followed by Madhya Pradesh with seven cases, Punjab and Gujarat with two each, and one case each in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Tamil Nadu has also reported nine Delta Plus cases, being the worst-affected among all southern states, along with Kerala that has reported three such cases.
In view of the upward swing of the Delta plus variant, several states have either brought back Covid-19 restrictions or extended the same in order to combat it. Maharashtra has reduced its relaxations from ‘level five’ to ‘level three’ thereby allowing malls and shops in Mumbai, Pune, Thane, and other major cities, to remain open only till 4pm as opposed to regular timings earlier. On the other hand, Tamil Nadu has also extended the lockdown till July 5 with certain relaxations in Chennai and other districts where daily Covid-19 caseload has declined.