The Delta variant that became dominant in India and is said to be the cause for the second wave in the country has now mutated — the Delta Plus variant of novel coronavirus is the current cause of worry across the globe. On June 22, The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare called the Delta Plus variant, a Variant of Concern.
We’re only just recovering from the devastating second wave in India, and experts are already worried that the Delta Plus variant could be even more transmissible — leading to the impending third wave.
Here’s what we know about the new variant so far:
How dangerous is the Delta Plus Variant?
The Delta variant proved to be more transmissible than the Alpha variant that was found in the UK last year. If the Delta Plus is a successful mutation of the Delta variant, it could be as dangerous as the Delta variant, if not more. However, scientists say it’s too early to tell the risk it contains due to the number of sample cases available.
How many states in India have been affected?
As of June 23, 40 cases from six districts in Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh, have been detected.
Delta Plus has also been found in the USA, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, Russia, and China.
How effective is it against the vaccines?
There is very little known about how vaccines work on the strain. The Health Ministry says the role of Delta Plus in increased transmissibility and severity is under surveillance. Studies are ongoing in India and globally to test the effectiveness of the vaccine against Delta Plus.
Will Delta Plus cause the third wave?
The Delta variant, the cause behind the second wave in India, was found in very low numbers before the sudden spike in cases. However, there is no certainty of such a trend for Delta Plus yet due to the low numbers currently. The Health Ministry has nevertheless asked the affected regions to focus on surveillance, testing, vaccination, and quick contact tracing.
With lockdowns and curfews being lifted in many states across the country, it’s important to continue following all safety precautions. Keeping ourselves and people around us safe is the need of the hour as we prepare for a possible third wave. Get vaccinated, wear a mask and maintain social distancing — we can fight this together.