Tamil Nadu registered its first death due to the Delta plus variant of Sars-Cov-2 (Covid-19) after a patient from Madurai died due to the infection informed the state health department.
Minister for medical and family welfare of Tamil Nadu, Ma Subramanian, on Saturday said that two of three identified cases of the new ‘Delta plus variant’ have been recovered. There are two cases of recovery including a 32-year-old nurse from Chennai and another individual from the Kancheepuram district.
“After the death of the Madurai patient, the samples were collected, which confirmed that it was ‘Delta plus’ variant,” Subramanian said.
However, the contacts of the patient have tested negative.
A more infectious version AY.1, also called Delta plus, is an offshoot of the Delta variant which has caused renewed concern about the capability to avoid immunity built by vaccination or the previous infection.
About 30% of cases of Delta plus variant have been found in southern India in states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Maharashtra recorded maximum cases of Delta plus variant at 20 as of Friday, while nine people tested positive for the new variant of concern in in Tamil Nadu as well.
Health secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to chief secretaries asking them to implement immediate containment measures and ensure proper adherence to Covid-19 measures. A forum has been set up by the health ministry to study the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia based on data received and monitor genome sequencing of circulating virus strains, the Delta Plus variants have three main characteristics – increased transmissibility; stronger binding to receptors of lung cells; and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
The Union health ministry on Friday expressed its concern over the Delta plus variant prompted to direct seven chief secretaries to take immediate containment measures where cases of the Delta plus variant have been found. Tamil Nadu’s Madurai, Kanchipuram and Chennai have been asked to strengthen their response after the Delta Plus variant was found in those districts.