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Too early to predict if Delta Plus will contribute to 3rd Covid-wave: ICMR expert

These mutations are inevitable, we cannot control the mutation, ICMR expert says (AFP)Premium
These mutations are inevitable, we cannot control the mutation, ICMR expert says (AFP)

  • Its too early to predict the third wave, third wave depends on many other factors, the expert said
  • Three characters of the variant have been recognised till now. High transmissibility, it shows high affinity towards the lung cells and less response to the monoclonal antibodies therapy, he adds

It is too early to say whether Delta Plus, labelled as a "variant of concern", will be responsible for a third wave of coronavirus, which according to experts will depend on several other factors, as reported by news agency ANI. The Delta Plus is the new mutant version of the Delta strain of COVID-19 first detected in India.

Noting that still there is no concern now for the third wave, Dr Sumit Aggarwal, Scientist and Program officer, Division of Epidemiology and Communicable disease, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), told ANI, "Its too early to predict the third wave, third wave depends on many other factors."

Dr Aggarwal said, "It's a normal tendency of a every mRNA virus that mutation will happen. These mutations are inevitable, we cannot control the mutation. So, as the time progresses, we will proceed further. So there will be a variation. Initially there was alpha, then delta and now delta plus."

He also said that in future more mutations can be seen and this virus is a 'variant of concern'.

"So, now in future we may see more mutations. Yes, definitely it's a new virus and MoHFW has also released a statement that this is a virus of concern because this is a new variant and we have started the studies. We confirmed 40 cases of Delta plus variant in three states are involved, Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

"There are three characters of the variant which we have recognised till now. High transmissibility, it shows high affinity towards the lung cells and less response to the monoclonal antibodies therapy," Dr Sumit added.

Recently identified Delta Plus by experts is said to be more infectious. Currently, several studies are underway on the mutant variant.

In India, cases COVID-19 Delta Plus, suggested as Variant of Concern, has been detected in Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. The health ministry has advised to ramp up containment measures in the affected districts of the above-mentioned states.

This variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 variant and its severity is still unknown.

ICMR, NIV to study if vaccines in India can neutralise Delta Plus

Following the detection of 'Delta Plus' COVID variant, the ICMR and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) have decided to conduct a study to see if the new and more potent variant of coronavirus can be neutralised by the existing vaccines in India.

The study is likely to involve Covaxin and Covishield vaccines.

"The newly emerged Delta Plus variant has possible increased transmissibility, higher binding capacity to the lung cells and resistance to monoclonal antibody treatment. Looking at this scenario, Delta Plus variant could be a concern, and a high watch should be undertaken and containment of affected zone should be done reduce the transmission," said Dr Pragya Yadav, head of the NIV's Maximum Containment Facility, as qouted by news agency ANI.

"As per earlier data concerning Delta variant, neutralization was happening with the existing vaccines in India. Though neutralization has dropped, it's enough to protect against Delta variant. Delta Plus should also behave (in a similar manner). We are working in this direction. We have isolated this variant and we are going to conduct a study soon. We will come back with the study," she had said.

(With inputs from agencies)



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