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Centre raises alert on delta plus variant a growing concern

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The Union Health Ministry has warned States that the delta plus variant, which is currently a variant of concern, has increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

 

Directing the States to initiate more focused and stringent measures to contain the virus spread, the Ministry has now also instructed that adequate number of samples from positive persons have to be sent to the designated labs so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be established.

 

“The Ministry wrote on the communication and has advised immediate containment measures which must be put in place in districts and clusters, where the variant has been detected, including preventing crowds and intermingling of people. It has also advocated for widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis,” said a Ministry official.

 

“The Ministry has written to Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, J&K, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh where some districts have this variant,” he said. Doctors across India have also cautioned against any relaxation in adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour. Archana Dhawan Bajaj, director, Nurture IVF said that the delta variant has been labeled as ‘Variant of Concern’ by World Health Organisation (WHO) for multiple reasons.

 

“The delta variant is more resistant to medication, treatment, and vaccination. Therefore, people who have been vaccinated can still be affected by this variant and can go on to get the clinical illness. Neutralising antibodies against this variant post-vaccination seem to be nearly five times lower in people who have already been vaccinated than the other variants,” she said.

 

The Delta Plus variant, currently a variant of concern, has increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

 

Doctors across India have also cautioned against any relaxation in adherence to COVID-appropriate behaviour in view of variants such as the Delta Plus cropping up. “There is a noticeable increase in hospitalisations, ICU admissions, mortality, and morbidity for people affected with this variant. This variant seems to be responsible for a fair number of re-occurrences,” Dr. Archana Dhawan Bajaj, director, Nurture IVF, told The Hindu.

 

Doctors add that COVID-19 being an RNA virus has a tendency to undergo rapid mutations and there is a need to step up the vaccination drive across the globe. Meanwhile, the Centre informed the Supreme Court on Saturday that it will require 186 to 188 crore vaccine doses to twice inoculate the 93 to 94 crore population aged above 18 years. 51.6 crore doses would be made available by July 31, it said, leaving a requirement of approximately 135 crore vaccine doses if it is to complete immunisation against COVID-19 by December 2021.

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