Twenty-one cases of the ‘Delta plus’ variant of COVID-19 which is considered to be the highly infectious one has been found in Maharashtra, informed the Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope.
Tope told the reporters on Monday that the highest nine cases were recorded in Ratnagiri, followed by seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai, and one case each in Palghar Thane and Sindhudurg districts.
Around 7500 samples were collected from different parts of the states and was sent for testing in laboratory, he said. The minister further said, on May 15 these samples were collected and their genome sequencing was done.
The tracking of small mutations in SARS-CoV2 which is the virus that causes COVID-19, meaning chains of transmission can be identified which is allowed by genome sequencing.
To identify the missing links in the chain of transmission is also being helped by the scientific process. Complete information about people detected with the ‘Delta plus’ variant is being sought, including their travel history, whether they were vaccinated or not, and if they were reinfected, said Tope.
The minister further said their, contacts are being traced and tested along with the information on mutation of Delta and Delta plus variants is also being investigated. A presentation was prepared by the Maharashtra health department last week which said the newly identified Delta plus’ variant may trigger a third wave of the pandemic in the state.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state COVID-19 task force members and health department officials had attended the presentation. In the presentation it was found that the new Delta plus variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 variant that was first identified in India and is one of the major causes of the deadly second wave.
However, there is no indication yet of the severity of the disease due to the new variant, Delta plus is resistant to the monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment for COVID-19 recently authorised in India.