New Delhi: As cases of delta plus variant of Covid-19 come to light from three states, many experts are fearing that the mutated strain can cause the third wave of the pandemic. However, India’s top genome sequencer has dismissed such concerns saying that there is no evidence yet to prove that delta plus variant will fuel a spike in Covid-19 cases and lead to a major third wave.Also Read - Delta Plus Variant in Maharashtra, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh: Health Ministry Issues Advisory
Speaking to NDTV, Dr Anurag Agarwal–the Director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB)– said, “At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that Delta Plus…has anything to do with a possible third wave.
“I certainly do not see any reason right now for people to panic regarding Delta Plus being significantly worse than Delta or creating a major third wave…There is absolutely no evidence for that.”
“My institute has sequenced more than 3,500 samples from Maharashtra in the month of June, covering samples from April and May. We can see that these (Delta Plus variants) are very much there. But these would constitute less than one per cent,” he further told the leading news channel.
However, the doctor has cautioned against lax behaviour and lowering of the guard as the second wave shows signs of subsiding in India. The doctor also emphasised that any Delta remains a variant of concern.
Centre Alerts Maharashtra, Kerala & Madhya Pradesh
Meanwhile, the Centre has alerted and advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh regarding the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2, currently a variant of concern (VOC), which has been found in some districts of these states.
The Union Health Ministry has advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh that the public health response measures, while broadly remaining the same as have been implemented by them earlier, have to become more focused and effective.
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.