- Delta Plus has been found in a sample collected in India on April 5, which indicates that though the number of cases in India at present is not massive, the variant is already present in some states and has been for quite some time.
- Delta and Delta Plus variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have emerged as new threats to India’s fight against the ongoing pandemic.
- Regions where Delta Plus has been detected currently includes the United States, Canada, India, Japan, Nepal, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Switzerland, and Turkey.
The Delta Plus variant is a mutation of the original Delta variant and is also believed to be more transmissible. Little is known so far on whether it has other effects.
With new infections nosediving and the number of vaccinations going up, Delta, first detected in India, is a global concern while the Delta Plus variant requires more research.
Several experts have said if we go by the currently available evidence, Delta Plus is not very different from the original Delta variant. It is the same Delta variant with one additional mutation. The only clinical difference is that Delta Plus has some resistance to monoclonal antibody combination therapy. That is not a major difference as the therapy itself is investigational and few are eligible for this treatment.
The World Health Organization, however, has just issued a recommendation that vaccinated people still wear masks in public, which is different from the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidleines in the United States.
As Delta Plus (B.1.617.2.1/(AY.1) is a variant of Delta, it is also treated as a variant of concern. But the properties of the variant detected in India (AY.1) are still being investigated. According to India’s COVID genome sequencing consortium, AY.1 cases have mostly been reported from 9 countries in Europe, Asia, and North America.
While Delta was first reported in India, Delta Plus was first reported by Public Health England in its June 11 bulletin. It said that the new variant was present in 6 genomes from India as of June 7. Many countries closed borders to the United Kingdom after this bulletin was released. This included countries in the EU, like Germany.
All of these variants contain mutations on the virus’ spike protein. Spike proteins on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2 virus bind to and allow the virus to enter human cells.
As of June 16, at least 197 cases have been found from 11 countries – Britain (36), Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), and the United States (83).
While Tourism destinations are now coming out with community spread reports about the COVID-19 Delta Variant, Euronews today summarized the concern for Europe about the new Delta Plus variant.