Mumbai: Twenty-one cases of the Delta plus variant of COVID-19 have been found in Maharashtra. The highest nine cases have been reported in Ratnagiri, followed by seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai, and one case each in Palghar, Thane, and Sindhudurg districts, Tope told reporters on Monday. The “Delta plus” strain is being considered highly infectious with the government tagging it as a “Variant of Concern”. As many as 40 cases of the Delta Plus Covid variant have come to light in India so far. Other cases of this highly infectious variant have been reported from Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.Also Read - Delta Plus Variant in Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh: Health Ministry Issues Advisory

What is the Delta plus variant of COVID-19?

The new Delta plus variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India and one of the drivers of the deadly second wave. Though there is no indication yet of the severity of the disease due to the new variant, Delta plus is resistant to the monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment for COVID-19 recently authorised in India.

INSACOG has informed that the Delta Plus variant has characteristics of increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Delta Plus Variant May Trigger Third Wave in Maharashtra

Last week, the Maharashtra health department made a presentation where it said the newly identified ‘Delta plus’ variant may trigger a third wave of the pandemic in the state. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state COVID-19 task force members, and health department officials had attended the presentation.

The number of active patients could reach up to eight lakh, while 10 per cent out of them could be children, said the presentation made by the state health department, as per an official release.

Thackeray asked officials to be prepared to deal with any situation in terms of the availability of medicines, beds and other necessary resources.