New Delhi: The Delta variant of COVID-19, or the B1.617.2 highly transmissible variant of concern (VOC), was the primary cause behind the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, an expert panel has found.Also Read - Only 1 Strain of Covid-19 Delta Variant First Detected in India 'of Concern' Now: WHO

The study on the reasons behind the second wave of COVID-19 was carried out by scientists of INSACOG (the consortium of labs undertaking genome sequencing in India) and National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). Also Read - WHO Gives New Labels to Covid-19 Variants, Strain Found in India to be Called 'Delta'

According to the study, the B.1.617 variant and its lineage B.1.617.2 were primarily responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases in India. The study said these variants had high transmissibility of 50 per cent more than Alpha variant or B.1.1.7. Also Read - Vietnam Detects Hybrid Coronavirus Variant That Spreads Quickly In Air

On Thursday, health officials in Britain said the Delta variant has now become the dominant VOC in the UK as infections rose by 5,472 in a week to hit a total of 12,431.

Public Health England (PHE), which monitors all COVID variants in the country, said that experts now believe that Delta has now overtaken Alpha the VOC first detected in the Kent region of England.

PHE also said that early evidence suggests there may be an increased risk of hospitalisation with Delta compared to Alpha, although more data is needed to have a more definitive view on that.

“The way to tackle variants is to tackle the transmission of COVID-19 as a whole. Work from home where you can, and practice hands, face, space, fresh air’ at all times. If you are eligible and have not already done so, please come forward to be vaccinated and make sure you get your second jab. It will save lives,” she said.