Experts detected the Delta Plus variant across 11 countries earlier this month.
Worries over the new Delta Plus variant continue to develop. This comes after India has deemed it as a COVID-19 “variant of concern.”
Many experts reportedly see it as more transmissible than the other variants. But, what exactly is it, and why has it already received buzz across the globe?
ABC AU, alongside other publications, released a brief report about the new COVID-19 variant. As noted, it is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant, which experts first detected in India.
About the Delta Plus variant
Initial reports about the Delta Plus variant were first found in a Public Health England bulletin last June 11. It has since caught the attention of the public, as well as health experts.
Reports said that it is a COVID-19 variant that “has acquired the spike protein mutation,” K417N. It is also present in the Beta variant, which experts first identified in South Africa.
Sally Cutler previously said that there is a belief about the K417N mutation’s ability to help the virus “dodge” neutralizing antibodies. The microbiologist from the University of East London then noted that antibodies are a “vital part” of the immune system’s defenses.
Experts from India have the same assessments about the mutation. Top virologist Shahid Jameel claimed that K417N reduces the “effectiveness of a cocktail of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.”
The country’s health ministry also asserted that there is an interest in the mutation. This is because of its presence in the Beta variant, which reportedly has “immune evasion” properties.
Detected cases, and locations
Health experts have detected the Delta Plus variant across 11 countries, according to the Indian Express. As of June 16, there were at least 197 cases collectively from Canada, India, Japan, Switzerland, Turkey, Polan, Portugal, Nepal, Russia, Britain, and the United States.
The same outlet noted, as well, that the earliest case in India is from a sample taken last April. Meanwhile, the first five cases in Britain were from the April 26 sequences. They were reportedly contacts of individuals who previously traveled from Turkey and Nepal.
A “variant of concern” in India
India is now starting to ease some of its restrictions following the deadly second wave of COVID-19. But, experts have warned that a third wave could hit “within 12 to 15 weeks,” according to BBC.
The country’s health ministry has already alerted some states and regions about the Delta Plus variant. However, there are reportedly “not enough data” to conclude that it may cause a new wave in the country.
Moreover, the WHO recently emphasized that the Delta Plus variant accounts “for only a small fraction of the Delta sequences.” Accordingly, the currently circulating COVID-19 variants of concern, including the Delta variant, “remain a higher public health risk.”
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