Everything you need to know about Delta Plus Variant
India has now categorized a new variant of the coronavirus as a variant of concern. It was first identified in Europe, however, it's too early to predict whether it possesses a significant threat.
1. What is Delta Plus Variant?
The Health Ministry of India says, Delta Plus variant also referred to as AY.1 has the ability to spread faster and easily binds the lungs. This particular variant is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy, an intravenous infusion of antibodies to neutralize the virus.
This variant is related to the Delta, which is already an existing variant of concern. It was first identified in India last year and is considered to be the reason for the deadly second wave.
2. Why are variants caused?
Viruses keep undergoing mutations all the time and most of the changes are inconsequential. Some even cause harm to the virus itself. But others can make it even more infectious and threatening.
A mutation is responsible for promoting a virus from a "variant of interest" to a "variant of concern" (VOC) when it depicts traces like easy transmission, serious illness, low immunity, and reduced effectiveness of antibodies and vaccines.
3. Which areas are at risk?
Indian Health ministry stated that the Delta plus variant, first found in India in April, has been detected in around 40 samples from three states - Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh. 16 of these samples were found in Maharashtra alone, the state hardest hit by the pandemic.
4. What do Virologists believe?
However, leading virologists like Gagandeep Kang, the first Indian woman to be elected Fellow Of Royal Society of London, has questioned the Delta plus to be labeled as a variant of concern, citing there isn't enough data yet to prove that this variant is more dangerous or can lead to severe disease when compared to other variants
India's top virologists have said that this Delta Plus variant carries a combination of symptoms from both Delta as well as its partner variant beta.
5. Symptoms of Delta Plus
Its common symptoms include cough, cold, diarrhea, fever, headache, skin rash, discoloration of fingers and toes, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Other symptoms observed in patients and attributed to the Delta Plus variant are stomach ache, nausea, and appetite loss.
6. Are the vaccines effective?
The current vaccines are believed to offer good resistance against the delta variant, and most scientists agree that fully vaccinated individuals likely face lesser risk.
Moderna announced Tuesday that its vaccine is effective against the delta variant. The results were based on blood samples from fully vaccinated people and showed that these individuals produced protective antibodies against several of the circulating variants, including delta.