The Delta variant was primarily responsible for the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, accounting for over 80 per cent of new cases, Dr N K Arora, co-chair of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium said, underlining that the cases may go up if a new, more infectious variant comes.
The variant is also around 40-60 percent more transmissible than its predecessor, Alpha variant, and has already spread to more than 80 countries, including the UK, the US and Singapore.
The Delta Plus variant—AY.1 and AY.2—has so far been detected in 55-60 cases across 11 states, including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh and is still being studied for its transmissibility, virulence, and vaccine escape characteristics, Dr Arora said, according to a Union Health Ministry statement.
The Delta variant has mutations in its spike protein, which helps it bind to the ACE2 receptors present on the surface of the cells more firmly, making it more transmissible and capable of evading the body”s immunity, Dr Arora said.
“The B.1.617.2, a variant of COVID-19 known as the Delta variant, was first identified in October 2020 in India, and was primarily responsible for the second wave in the country, today accounting for over 80 percent of new COVID-19 cases,” he said.
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