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How Delta variant of Covid can damage the brain, former ICMR head explains

A medical team conducts door-to-door survey to detect COVID-19 cases after a Delta Plus variant case was found in Rajasthan, in Bikaner. (PTI)Premium
A medical team conducts door-to-door survey to detect COVID-19 cases after a Delta Plus variant case was found in Rajasthan, in Bikaner. (PTI)

  • On Delta Variant, which was a major contributor to the second wave of infections in India, Dr Gangakhedkar said it could transfer from cell to cell and would more likely produce neurological symptoms as a common manifestation

The highly transmissible Delta plus variant of the coronavirus, which has been detected in 10 states in the country, should be treated as a 'variant of concern,' Dr Raman Gangakhedkar, ex-Head Scientist of Epidemiology and communicable diseases, ICMR said on Saturday.

On Delta Variant, which was a major contributor to the second wave of infections in India, Dr Gangakhedkar said it could transfer from cell to cell and would more likely produce neurological symptoms as a common manifestation.

"It depends on which organ am I speaking about, it'll perhaps damage more those specific organs if it's proven to be true that it's causing major pathophysiologic change and affecting different organs," he added.

As per the Health ministry's data Delta variant was present in 52 districts across the country in March, and had spread to 174 districts by June.

Whereas Delta Plus variant is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Recently, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it is tracking the Delta Plus variant, and added, "Delta and other circulating Variants of Concern remain a higher public health risk as they have demonstrated increases in transmission".

The health ministry has also warned that regions where it has been found “May need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing, and priority vaccination." Besides, there are worries Delta Plus would inflict another wave of infections on India.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Tamil Nadu registered its first death due to the Delta plus variant of Covid-19 after a patient from Madurai succumbed to the infection.

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