The Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 has been wreaking havoc across the globe, with increased transmissibility and resistance to some drugs and vaccines. India has already declared this variant as the variant of concern, with the strain found in 49 samples from 12 states. Maharashtra has reported the highest number of cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus.
Vaccination and safety measures such as wearing face masks are essential when it comes to fighting against the Delta Plus coronavirus variant, World Health Organization (WHO) representative to Russia Melita Vujnovic said.
“We need to make an effort over a short period of time, otherwise there would be another lockdown,” Vujnovic said on the Soloviev Live YouTube show.
The Covid-19 Delta Plus variant is the mutated form of the Delta variant, earlier found in India. The Delta variant has so far been found in 85 countries, according to health experts, and has been the driving force behind a surge in infection in South Africa.
In fact, the infectious disease experts in South Africa believe that the country is already experiencing a third wave of the infection due to the Delta variant.
Why is the Delta Plus variant a cause of concern?
This new variant of Covid-19, also known as AY.1, spreads almost 60 per cent faster than its predecessor, the Delta variant. It also binds more easily to the lung cells and shows higher resistance to some of the drugs being used against coronavirus.
Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, former head scientist of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR, said there are two graded mutations which have occurred in the Delta variant, which was the dominant strain of coronavirus in the country till now. These graded mutations are L452R and P871R.
“These particular mutations add to the higher transmission efficiency so that the variant can spread quickly from one person to another or can enter into the cells much more efficiently compared to other strains that exist,” said Dr Gangakhedkar, terming Delta Plus as one of the most critical mutations of coronavirus.
What are the symptoms of the Delta Plus variant?
India’s top virologists have said that the Delta Plus variant carries symptoms of the Delta as well as its partner the beta variant. Some of these symptoms include cough, diarrhoea, fever, headache, skin rash, discolouration of fingers and toes, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Other symptoms listed by the experts and attributed to the Delta Plus variant are: stomach ache, nausea and appetite loss.