Synopsis: The Government of India has categorised the Delta Plus variant as a ‘variant of concern’.
What is Delta+ variant?
- The Delta variant formerly known as B.1.617.2 is believed to be the most transmissible variant of Covid -19 yet. It has been initially detected in India.
- The Delta plus variant (B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1) has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta variant.
- A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the virus.
What are the characteristics of Delta plus variant?
The Delta plus variant has three important characteristics:
- Increased transmissibility
- Binds strongly to receptors of lung cells, and
- potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
What measures has been suggested by Central Government?
The Centre has suggested immediate containment measures including:
- preventing crowds and intermingling of people,
- widespread testing,
- prompt contact tracing and
- vaccine coverage on a priority basis in districts affected by Delta plus variant.
What is a Variant of Concern (VOC)?
WHO (World Health Organisation) classifies a variant as a VOC when it is associated with:
- An increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology o
- Increase in virulence (Ability to cause severe/life-threatening disease)
- Decrease in the effectiveness of public health measures or available diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.