Govt labels Delta-plus ‘variant of concern’, urges caution

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Synopsis: The Government of India has categorised the Delta Plus variant as a ‘variant of concern’.  

What is Delta+ variant? 

  • The Delta variant formerly known as B.1.617.2 is believed to be the most transmissible variant of Covid -19 yet. It has been initially detected in India.  
  • The Delta plus variant (B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1) has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta variant. 
  • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the virus. 

What are the characteristics of Delta plus variant? 

 The Delta plus variant has three important characteristics: 

  • Increased transmissibility 
  • Binds strongly to receptors of lung cells, and 
  • potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. 

What measures has been suggested by Central Government?  

The Centre has suggested immediate containment measures including: 

  • preventing crowds and intermingling of people, 
  • widespread testing, 
  • prompt contact tracing and 
  • vaccine coverage on a priority basis in districts affected by Delta plus variant. 

What is a Variant of Concern (VOC)?   

WHO (World Health Organisation) classifies a variant as a VOC when it is associated with: 

  • An increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology o 
  • Increase in virulence (Ability to cause severe/life-threatening disease) 
  • Decrease in the effectiveness of public health measures or available diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. 

Source: TOI 

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