Twenty-one cases of the Delta Plus Covid variant, the mutant version of the Delta variant that unleashed the devastating second wave of the pandemic, have been found in Maharashtra so far, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said today.
The new variant has acquired a mutation linked with circumventing the body’s immunity, scientists say, adding as of now it is not a cause for concern.
“On Delta plus variant I want to say, Maharashtra took a decision on genome sequencing and 100 samples were collected from every district…since May 15, we have collected over 7,500 samples and we have found 21 cases,” he said.
According to the minister, 9 cases of the new variant have been found in Ratnagiri, 7 in Jalgaon, 2 in Mumbai, one in Palghar and one each in Sindhudurg and Thane.
He said the authorities are trying to collect data and details linked to those found infected with the mutant version of the Delta variant, which was first detected in India but soon became the dominant variant in several places across the world.
The government will analyse information like their travel history, their vaccination status, whether they have been re-infected and if they got infected despite vaccination, to know more about the Delta Plus mutant.
The Centre last week said the ‘Delta Plus’ variant had been around since March this year. It was not, however, a variant of concern, Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, had said. “Its presence had been detected and submitted to the global data system,” he added.
Experts, however, have warned that Delta Plus can become a variant of concern if anti-Covid rules are ignored.
“Delta Plus is a variant which is of same lineage as Delta variant, with a slight change as there is one more mutation found, which could be a cause of concern because this mutation, the K417N, is something which may change the virus to some extent as far as its infectivity is concerned… What we need to do is observe. Currently, the WHO has said that this is a variant of interest, but it could become a variant of concern because currently the number of cases is less,” AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria had told NDTV.