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Home / News / India /  New 'Delta Plus' variant of Covid-19 detected, submitted to global data system: Govt

The 'Delta' variant of SARS-CoV-2 has further mutated to form the 'Delta plus' or 'AY.1' variant. Speaking about the new strain, the Centre said an additional mutation of this variant, known as Delta Plus, has been detected and submitted to a global data system.

"It has been seen in Europe since March and was brought into the public domain on 13 June," Dr VK Paul, Member-Health, Niti Aayog, said on Tuesday.

Dr Paul further said that the 'Delta plus' variant of Covid-19 is a variant of interest and has not yet been classified as a variant of concern.

"As per data available in the public domain, this variant nullifies the use of a monoclonal antibody. We will study and learn more about this variant," the Niti Aayog member said.

The B.1.617.2 strain or the 'Delta' variant of SARS-CoV-2 was identified as one of the drivers of the second wave of Covid-19 infections that devastated parts of India earlier this year.

During the second wave of Covid-19, the government said, about 11.62% cases were seen in the below 20 years age group, while it was 11.31% during the first wave.

The Centre also said that a sharp decline of 78% has been noted since the highest reported weekly Covid-19 case positivity rate of 21.4%, which was recorded between 4 and 10 May during the second wave.

Everything you need to know about the Delta Plus variant:

  • A scientist specialising in genomic sequencing, Bani Jolly said on Twitter, "A small number of sequences of Delta (B.1.617.2) having spike mutation K417N can be found on GISAID. As of today, these sequences have been identified in genomes from 10 countries."
  • "The sequences have recently been designated as lineage AY.1 (B.1.617.2.1), a sublineage of Delta, due to concerns about K417N being one of the mutations found in the Beta variant (B.1.351)," Jolly added.
  • Delta plus is resistant to the monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment for coronavirus recently authorised in India.
  • "One of the emerging variants is B.1.617.2.1 also known as AY.1 characterized by the acquisition of K417N mutation," Vinod Scaria, clinician and scientist at Delhi's CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), tweeted.
  • The mutation, he said, is in the spike protein of SARS-COV-2, which helps the virus enter and infect the human cells.
  • As per Public Health England, 63 genomes of Delta (B.1.617.2) with the new K417N mutation have been identified so far on the global science initiative GISAID.
  • In its latest report on Covid-19 variants, the health agency said Delta plus was present in six genomes from India as of 7 June.
  • However, scientists say there is no immediate cause for concern since the prevalence of this new variant is still low in India.

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