Delta Plus: All you need to know about the new Coronavirus variant

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Delta Plus: All you need to know about the new Coronavirus variant
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  • India’s Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) classified Delta Plus variant, a mutant of novel Coronavirus, as a ‘variant of concern’.
  • The health ministry has advised three states -- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala to ramp up containment measures in the districts affected with the Delta Plus variant.
  • The new mutant variant has so far been detected in three other states as well -- Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.
The Delta Plus variant of the Coronavirus has been detected in around 80 countries including India, US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Nepal, Poland, China and Russia.

India’s Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) classified Delta Plus variant, a mutant of novel Coronavirus, as a ‘variant of concern’. The health ministry has advised three states — Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala to ramp up containment measures in the districts affected with the Delta Plus variant.

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope said that the government is taking all necessary steps to curb the spread of the Delta Plus variant in the state. “For this, the government has decided to collect hundreds of samples from each district of the state for genome sequencing. The process of collecting samples from each district has already started," he told India Today TV.

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The new mutant variant has so far been detected in three other states as well — Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh.

What is the Delta Plus variant?
Viruses mutate in order to survive, SARS-CoV-2 (which causes COVID-19) has gone through several mutations, giving rise to several variants. The Delta variant was detected in India, initially. It is technically the next generation of SARS-COV-2.

Where was Delta Plus variation first detected?
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The mutant of Delta was first detected in Europe in March this year, but was brought to public notice on June 13.

What do we know so far about Delta Plus variation?
There is no clear evidence, which indicates that the new variant is highly infectious, but it is seen as a rising concern in many regions. “There is no proof that the variant could be more transmissible than others,” Prof. Shahid Jameel — former Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics or Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium (INSACOG) member and a premier virologist — told PTI.

Are COVID-19 vaccines effective against the Delta Plus variant?
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Reports say it's too early to predict and there is no indication of the severity of the disease. Before coming to a conclusion, detailed study needs to be established if the variant showcases any significant level of immune escape. Two Delta Plus variant cases were registered in the UK even after 14 days of getting the second dose of vaccine.

However, both Indian vaccines — Covishield and Covaxin — are effective against the Delta variant, says Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Ministry Secretary.

Does the Delta Plus variant cause more severe disease?
Not many known symptoms have been found for Delta Plus variation. But for Delta variation these are the common symptoms --
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  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of hearing
  • Joint pain
What are the odds of Delta Plus sparking the third wave of COVID-19?
Well, there is no certainty and currently, due to low numbers, it is difficult to predict.


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