Fifty-one cases of Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus have been detected across 12 states in the country, the centre said on Saturday.
Of the new cases detected, Maharashtra has reported the highest number of 22. These 51 cases were detected from over 45,000 samples sequenced so far in the country.
Moreover, nine in Tamil Nadu, seven in Madhya Pradesh, three in Kerala, two each in Punjab and Gujarat, and one case each in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana and Karnataka.
The centre stressed that there are still very limited cases of this mutation and it cannot be inferred that it is showing an upward trend.
“There are very limited number of cases of this mutation (Delta Plus). In India, there are very limited cases (of Delta Plus). There are nearly 50 cases that are found in 12 districts and this has happened in the last three months. It cannot be said that in any district, state it is showing an increasing trend. Till the time we don’t correlate this we will not say this is a rising trend because its mutations are the same as Delta variant,” Sujeet Singh Director of the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)told a media briefing of the health ministry.
So the transmission potential in the Delta variant can also found in the Delta Plus variant, he added.
The NCDC is among the 10 institutes involved in genome sequencing of the coronavirus in the country.
Sujeet Singh said the Delta Plus variant signifies the Delta variant with an additional mutation — B.1.617.2.1. This specifically refers to the acquisition of the K417N genetic variant in the background of Variant of Concern (VoC) Delta (B.1.617.2).
He said K417N is of public significance as this mutation is also present in the Variant of Concern Beta (B.1.351).
He said the Delta Plus variant is denoted by a plus sign. “This does not mean…that severity of transmission is more or leads to more severe disease. If scientific evidence does (suggest) that then we will definitely let you know,” he said.
Sujeet Singh added that since the Delta variant is already a VoC, its sub-lineage can also be called a VoC.
Sujeet Singh said Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Telangana, and West Bengal have Delta variants in more than 50 per cent of the samples sequenced.
“After that, we came to a conclusion that exponential surge during the second wave was to a large extent driven by this variant. Ninety per cent of the cases (of the samples sequenced) are being driven by B.1.617.2 (Delta) variant of SARS-CoV2,” he said.