India on Tuesday identified Delta plus variant of the coronavirus as a “Variant of Concern” with at least twenty-two cases being detected in the country. Out of these, 16 were reported from Maharashtra alone, while the remaining from Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.
The Union Health Ministry has communicated and alerted the three states after the variant was found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala; Bhopal and Shivpuri districts in Madhya Pradesh. The ministry has advised the states to ensure that public health response measures are more focused and effective.
DELTA PLUS CASES IN THREE STATES
- Madhya Pradesh
CHARACTERISTICS OF DELTA PLUS
- Increased transmissibility
- Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells
- Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response
Meanwhile, the state chief secretaries have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis.
The three states have also been advised to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be made for further guidances to states.
INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Dept. of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for whole genome sequencing in the context of COVID-19 pandemic. INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also for giving timely inputs on appropriate Public Health Response measures to be adopted by States and UTs.
Besides India, the Delta Plus variant has been found in the US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia. The Delta variant is found in 80 countries around the world, including India.