The Delta Plus variant, first reported in a Public Health England bulletin on June 11 2021, is the mutated form of Delta variant, which was earlier discovered in India.
As per the health experts, the Delta variant was found in 85 countries so far and has been the driving force behind the surge in COVID-19 infection in South Africa. In fact, the South African infectious disease specialists believe that the country is already experiencing a third wave of infection due to the Delta variant.
The Delta Plus variant, with increased transmissibility and resistance to most drugs and therapies, is causing concern. The strain found in 49 samples across 12 states in India has already been declared a ‘variant of concern’ (VoC). To date, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of infections with the Delta Plus variant.
Vaccination and COVID safety measures like wearing face masks are essential to fight the Delta Plus variant.
What is Delta Plus Variant
The COVID-19 Delta Plus Variant is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant that was first detected in India, which acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N, also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa. Some experts say that the mutation can make it more transmissible.
Why is Delta Plus variant a cause of concern?
The Indian government recently stated that the new Delta Plus variant is a ‘variant of concern’. It has three characteristic features:
- Increased transmissibility
- Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells
- Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response
Currently, India is one of the nine countries where the new COVID Delta Plus variant has been detected. Reportedly, the variant has also been detected in the UK, US, China, Nepal, Switzerland, Portugal, Poland, Japan and Russia.
What are the symptoms of Delta Plus Variant?
According to India’s virologists, Delta Plus variant carries symptoms of the Delta variant and the beta variant. Some of these symptoms include:
- Skin rash
- Discolouration of fingers and toes
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath.
Other symptoms listed by specialists and attributed to the Delta Plus variant include:
- Stomach ache
- Appetite loss
During these critical times, when we have just recovered from the implications of a second wave and are gradually returning back to normalcy, being aware and adhering to all the COVID appropriate behaviour is the only way to prevent the spread of the virus, especially in the wake of such deadly new variants.
While the Delta Plus variant is touted to be more transmissible and spreads faster than the earlier variants, wearing double masks, maintaining social distance, practicing respiratory hygiene, and washing or sanitizing hands regularly is of utmost importance.
In addition, vaccination is the only way to gain some immunity against the virus. Studies have shown that COVID vaccines can prove effective against the new variants, including the Delta variant, making it all the more important for you to get your vaccine shot as soon as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Are COVID vaccines effective against the new Delta Plus variant ?
While the studies done in the recent past have claimed that certain COVID vaccines are proving effective against the Delta Variant, scientists are yet to test the effectiveness of vaccines on the Delta Plus variant.
- Can the Delta Plus variant impact fully vaccinated individuals?
It is reported that the first COVID-19 Delta Plus variant case in Rajasthan was detected in a 65-year-old woman who was fully vaccinated. The woman recovered from COVID-19 and had also received both her vaccine doses. However, the sample of the woman sent for genome sequencing to the Pune-based National Institute of Virology detected the Delta Plus variant. She was asymptomatic and has fully recovered from a COVID-19 infection.
Therefore, it is important to note that the Delta Plus variant can impact fully vaccinated individuals and COVID-recovered people as well but may be of reduced severity in them .
- Is the Delta Plus variant a threat to children?
It is too early to say whether the new Delta Plus variant is a threat to children. While there is no evidence as such that the new variant can affect children, experts believe that COVID-appropriate is the key to safety.