Studies at the Indian Council of Medical Research are currently underway to examine if and how effective Indian vaccines are against Covid-19’s newest threat - the Delta plus variant.
“We are examining Delta plus samples that have been collected from various states to ascertain if they get neutralised by serum from the Covid-19 vaccine recipients,’’ ICMR scientist Dr Samiran Panda told CNN-News18.
Based on WHO classification, all sub-lineages of the Delta variant are considered as a variant of concern. As per initial data, Delta plus seems to have increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and resistance against the monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment. However, currently, there isn’t any clinical literature in the public domain to broadly ascertain this.
Another ICMR Scientist Dr Pragya Yadav said the top medical body’s hopes have been boosted by studies that have indicated that most vaccines such as Covaxin, Covishield, Pfizer and Moderna are effective against the Delta variant.
“We believe that since there is only one additional mutation (K417N) to delta – vaccines should still work. We are however closely examining," she told CNN-News18.
The virulent B.1.617.2 Delta variant has further mutated and formed the Delta plus or ‘AY.1’ variant but health experts have said that there is no immediate cause of panic.
Union Health Ministry on Tuesday advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh to strengthen containment and testing efforts, and carry out surge vaccinations after a bulk of the 40 confirmed cases of this variant in India were reported from these states.
Meanwhile, sources have indicated to CNN News18 that the Indian SARS-CoV-2 consortium is also closely monitoring the Delta plus variant and will soon release its report.