Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday confirmed that 21 cases of Delta plus variant of Covid-19 was reported in the state. The Delta plus variant is the mutant version of the highly infectious Delta variant (B.1.617.2) that unleashed the vicious second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Out of 21 cases of Delta plus variant detected in Maharashtra, nine are from Ratnagiri, seven from Jalgaon, two from Mumbai, and one each from Palghar, Thane and Sindhudurg. We are ascertaining their vaccination status and travel history," said Tope.
He further said that the state authorities are trying to collect data like travel history, vaccination status and other details linked to those infected with the mutant version. “On Delta plus variant I want to say, Maharashtra took a decision on genome sequencing and 100 samples were collected from every district…since May 15, we have collected over 7,500 samples and we have found 21 cases," NDTV quoted the minister as saying.
In May, five Delta plus cases were first detected in Ratnagiri following which 50 samples were sent for genome sequencing to CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB). The second batch returned three positive results in June.
Speaking to Times of India, a district health officer of Palghar said that a case was detected in their area where the individual was found to have a mutation that was different than the delta plus variant. The officer went on to say that the patient had loose motions and was isolated but the virus which the patient had contracted could not be detected.
As a precautionary measure, all districts have been told to send 100 samples each over the next 2-3 weeks. Since May, over 3,500 samples have been sent, noted Dr Lahane, while Dr Rahul Pandit, who is a member of the state task force was of the opinion that before a new variant becomes a cause for concern, it should be nipped in the bud.
At present, transmissibility or severity of Delta-plus is being studied by INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia). The doctor contended that they would also be analyzing samples dating to previous months to see if they already existed in March or April. Till June 7, India had reported six cases of Delta-plus.
A few days back, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria had said that the delta plus variant of coronavirus may affect the efficacy of the vaccines available in India but it will still be effective against the variant. The delta plus is a variant of interest and not of concern yet, he added.