DELTA PLUS VARIANT: THE VARIANT OF CONCERN

The newly detected delta plus variant is the sub-lineage of the Delta variant is the mutated version of B.1.617.2.The mutation that occurred in a spike protein called K417N makes it more transmissible. India itself reported 50 Delta plus variant cases in 12 states including 20 cases reported in Maharashtra and 9 in Tamil Nadu. Besides India, nine other countries such as the USA, UK, Portugal, Nepal, China, etc.. reported delta plus variant cases recently. This variant is not at all an immediate thread and no deaths reported yet.  But several European nations lifted restrictions and forces new lockdowns despite the global spread of highly contagious covid variant.

Israel, which has one of the world’s most successful vaccination campaigns has seen infections linked to the variant. Delta plus variant not rising faster, However regions that have already suffered from Delta outbreaks should have a major problem but none of the mutations should raise public or health concerns yet!

Why this variant become the biggest concern?

Studies show that Delta plus variant is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant. The Critical mutation that happened to this Spike protein accesses them to have a stronger binding in the receptor of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. A common mutation seems to make the protein favors open confirmations which might mean the virus can enter the cells more easily which is exactly what happened in the delta plus variant. So much a critical mutation that would lead to an improvement in the ability of the virus makes it more effective. The new mutant variant may first be capable of dodging immunities, this is because the delta plus variant not only had all symptoms of the Delta variant but also carries symptoms from its partner Beta variant.

Why such sudden mutations?

Viruses that encode their genome in RNA tend to pick up mutations quickly as there cope with it inside their host because enzymes that copy are prone to making errors. Though studies show that coronavirus does change more slowly than most of the other RNA viruses. The proofreading activity of coronavirus is happening more efficiently than other RNA viruses.

As a result of convergent evolution and natural selection mutations develop independently which indirectly results in such a high number of variants in this short time.


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COULD THE DELTA PLUS VARIANT CAUSE THE THIRD WAVE?

Reports say that Delta plus variant can potentially trigger the third wave of covid in India. Delta plus variant not rising faster through regions that have already suffered from delta outbreaks should have a major problem. This variant may be able to bypass immunity provided by both vaccine and earlier infection make it more concerned. Outpace jab recovery and depending on how effective the vaccine is there could be a substantial 3rd wave due to these variants.

EFFICIENCY OF VACCINE ON DELTA PLUS VARIANT

The massive surge in infection numbers and new variants put an enormous strain on India’s health system. The report says that two Indian vaccines show 3-8 times less effective particularly after 1st dose and after 2nd dose percentage is better against delta and beta variants however, the prevalence of this new variant is still low in India and also no evidence exists yet that delta leads to more reinfections than any coronavirus stains.

IT IS CAUSE OF WORRY NOT PANIC!

Speed of the virus and the speed at which India is vaccinating people make the situation worrying”

India needs to enhance its public health responses by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact tracing, providing medical oxygen, ventilators, and priority vaccination.

Vaccination is the most important among these to address because it is essential to lower the probability of spreading the virus and lowers the risk of severity of the disease and prevent hospitalization and deaths to a great extent!

As minister Boris Johnson said “ When virus change its method of attack, we should change our method of attack”

So proper safety measures and vaccination can only put an end to this surge!


Also Read: What is Black Fungus Or Mucormycosis?


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