Is the New Delta Plus Variant ‘A Gordian Knot’?
The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was first discovered in India in October 2020. On 11th May 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) has pronounced it as a “Variant of Concern”. It has shown multiple mutations, three of which are E484Q, L452R, and P614R. The Delta Plus, or Delta-AY.1 variant, a sub-lineage of the Delta variant, is a mutated version of the B.1.617.2 variant. At this juncture, it seems like, “A Gordian Knot.”
Dr. NK Arora, the chairman of COVID-19 Working Group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI) said, “In contrast to other variants, Delta Plus variant has a greater impact on the mucosal lining in the lungs as compared to other variants, but if it causes damage or not is not clear yet. It also does not mean that this variant will cause more severe disease or it is more transmissible.”
However, the severity of its damage is yet not clear. Still, it keeps on affecting people all around the globe. This variant is thus, responsible for various worries and needs to be studied with more data.
The New Delta Variant is, as a matter of fact, has greater infectivity, higher transmission rate, and stronger resistance to vaccines. This variant is now called a Variant of Concern or (VoC) by WHO. Moreover, it is still affecting on Indian population at large.
According to recent research by healthcare scientists, Delta Plus has shown an extra mutation called K417N, which helps it to attack cells more easily. Thus, this mutation may decrease the chances of the virus escaping from the lungs of the infected person. Therefore, it can be a cause of greater concern, not on a national scale, but globally.
However, the Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, Dr. Randeep Guleria said that “There isn’t much data on Delta plus variant to suggest it’s more infectious, causing more deaths, or has developed significant immune escape mechanism. But if we follow COVID appropriate behavior and get vaccinated, we’ll be safe against any of emerging variants.”