The central government has tagged the new Delta Plus strain as a “Variant of Concern” and that there are over 40 cases in the country of the strain.
Yesterday, the government sent a warning to Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on Delta Plus cases found there, NDTV reported.
The national news channel further quoting sources reported that cases of the new strain, a mutation of the Delta strain or B.1.617.2 variant first detected in India, are not confined to these states although there is “no significant increase” in prevalance.
There are 21 cases in Maharashtra, six in Madhya Pradesh, three in Kerala, three in Tamil Nadu, two in Karnataka and one each in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu, according to sources.
Delta Plus cases, still a low number, are emerging as large parts of India are ending severe lockdowns and restrictions with Covid cases on the decline after a fierce second wave ambushed the nation’s health infrastructure in April-May.
INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia), a consortium of 28 labs tasked with genome sequencing of the virus causing Covid, says properties of the Delta Plus are still being investigated. It is characterized by a mutation in the spike protein, which helps the virus gain entry into human cells.
“Currently the number of such Delta plus variants in India are only few but the distribution/detection in various states during past two months indicate that it is already present in some states and states may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination,” it says.
According to the government’s advisory on Tuesday, Delta Plus cases have been found in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri and Jalgaon; in Palakkad and Pathanamthitta in Kerala; and in Bhopal and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh