12 states with Delta Plus cases, maximum in Maharashtra: Govt

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The Delta plus mutant variant of Covid-19 has been identified in 12 states of the country, with the most number of cases registered in Maharashtra with 22 cases, revealed the Centre on Friday. The government declared that presently there are 51 cases of Delta Plus, concentrating on the limitation in the number and cannot be termed to have an upward trend yet.

According to Sujeet Singh, the director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), there is a very restrained count of the cases of the Delta Plus mutation. Maharashtra leads the count with 22 cases, after which comes Tamil Nadu with 9 cases, 7 in Madhya Pradesh, 3 in Kerala, Punjab, and Gujarat with 2 each, and 1 case in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Karnataka, added Singh.

Amid a health ministry briefing on Friday, Singh said, “There are nearly 50 cases that are found in 12 districts and this has happened in the last three months. It cannot be said that in any district or state it is showing an increasing trend. Till the time we don’t correlate this we will not say this is a rising trend because its mutations are the same as Delta variant.”

The 51 cases were detected from an overall 45,000 samples sequenced as of now in the country.

Singh mentioned the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 implies the Delta variant having an additional mutation – B.1.617.2.1. This particularly indicates the acquisition of the K417N genetic variant in the background of Variant of Concern (VoC) Delta (B.1.617.2) along with K417N termed to be of public significance as the same mutation is prevalent in the Variant of Concern Beta (B.1.351), he added.

Singh said, “This does not mean…that severity of transmission is more or lead to more severe disease. If scientific evidence does (suggest) that then we will definitely let you know,” further adding that as the Delta variant was termed as the Variant of Concern (VoC), its subsequent lineages will also be called VoC.

As per Singh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, and West Bengal comprise of Delta variant in over 50 % of the samples sequenced.

Singh said, “After that, we came to a conclusion that exponential surge during the second wave was to a large extent driven by this variant. Ninety per cent of the cases (of the samples sequenced) are being driven by B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of SARS-CoV2.”

VoCs have been identified in 174 districts in 35 states and Union territories, such that the maximum number of cases found in Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Telangana, West Bengal, and Gujarat, Singh said. The proportion has surged from 10.31 percent in May to 51 percent as found on June 20, he said.

Regarding the new VoC, Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR’s) director-general Balaram Bhargava said, “Delta Plus variant has also been isolated and cultured at ICMR-NIV and laboratory tests to check vaccine effect on Delta Plus variant. We should have these results within 7-10 days whether the vaccine is working against the Delta Plus.”

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