Delta and Delta Plus variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have emerged as new threats to India's fight against the ongoing pandemic which witnessed several milestones of success with new infections nosediving and the number of vaccinations going up. Delta, first detected in India, is a global concern while Delta Plus — with 40 cases in India — requires more research. Delta Plus is a variant of Delta.
Difference between Delta and Delta Plus
Delta (B.1.617.2) was first detected in India. It is a variant of concern and a variant of interest.
As Delta Plus (B.1.617.2.1/(AY.1) is a variant of Delta, it is also treated as a variant of concern. But the properties of the variant detected in India (AY.1) are still being investigated. According to India's Covid genome sequencing consortium, AY.1 cases have mostly reported from nine countries of Europe, Asia and America.
The two is differentiated by the K417N mutation in Spike protein which Delta Plus variants have.
While Delta was first reported in India, Delta plus first reported by Public Health England on its June 11 bulletin. it said that the new variant was present in six genomes in India as of June 7.
How many Delta and Delta Plus cases are there across the world?
Delta has rapidly spread in the United Kingdom and reports said that Delta variant is responsible for 99 per cent of the UK's cases. In the UK itself, the number has surpassed 33,000 in a week. This variant is spreading to other countries as well.
According to the Centre, as of June 18, 205 Delta Plus cases were detected worldwide, with the USA and the UK reporting more than half of the known cases.
What is Ay.2 another variant of Delta?
There are other Delta Plus variants with other mutations. Ay.1 has been found as the most common, but another mutant AY.2 has also been found in the United States. This has not been found in India yet.
Is Delta Plus more transmissible, virulent than Delta?
Delta variant of coronavirus has been held responsible for the second wave of the pandemic in India. Several other countries too consider Delta as the factor behind a sudden surge of cases. Experts in India have said Delta Plus, already detected in Maharashtra, can be the reason behind the third wave.
Delta Plus resists monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy in which artificial antibodies are produced in the body. But India's expert committee has confirmed that resistance to this does not mean that this variant is more virulent.
Delta Plus was already present in India
The government on Wednesday clarified that after Public Health England reported Delta Plus on June 11, experts conducted a retrospective analysis of samples and found Delta Plus in a sample collected on April 5.
The government has said that the number of Delta Plus variants in India are very few but the variant is already present in some states for the last two months.