Express News Service

NEW DELHI: As many as 86 Covid cases with Delta Plus variant have been detected in India so far, with Maharashtra alone reporting 45 cases but the Centre reiterated that interim findings of the epidemiological analysis show that it may not have public health significance beyond Delta variant.

“From the evidence we have so far, it looks like the Delta Plus variant of the novel coronavirus will not be able to fuel an exponential surge in the number of Covid cases in India,” said SK Singh, director of the National Centre for Disease Control in a press briefing on the pandemic status in India.

A similar message was presented by VK Paul, member, health, Niti Aayog, who also heads the national Covid task force, who said that given this variant’s geographical spread so far, it is evident that it may not be able to go beyond Delta Plus’s extent of transmission.

In most states in India now, Delta Plus has been detected in 80-90% of nearly 59,000 samples collected from those infected, which were subjected to whole-genome sequencing under the Centre’s INSACOG project.

ALSO READ | Covaxin capable of neutralising delta plus variant of Covid-19 too, shows ICMR study

Delta variant, which has been estimated to be 50-60% more transmissible than Alpha variant, first identified in the UK, and was responsible for the massive second wave in India before spreading out in most parts of the world.  

Last month, INSACOG had clarified that there is currently no evidence of any new Delta sub-lineage that is of greater concern than delta.

A pre-print study released by the Indian Council of Medical Research early this month said that Covaxin – the Covid vaccine developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR and its subsidiary National Institute of Virology (NIV) — is effective in providing protection against the Delta Plus variant.

The findings, however, did suggest that just like in case of Delta Variant, the efficacy of these vaccines is lowered in case of Delta Plus variant.

On June 22, the Centre for the first time had designated the Delta Plus variant of the novel coronavirus a “variant of concern”.

As of now, two variants of SARSCoV2, said Singh, are under investigation in India. These include kappa and B 1.617.3, a virus type also called Delta Plus.