After the Delta variant of the covid, also detected in Italy and considered more contagious, here is the Delta ‘Plus’. India has classified the new coronavirus variant, first identified in Europe, as a variant of concern (VOC). But the judgment on the mutant is not unique. Several scientists hold back: too early to tell whether this variant poses a significant threat. According to reports from the ‘BBC’ online, the Indian Ministry of Health said that studies show greater ease of spread for Delta plus, also known as AY.1. According to these cited data, the variant would also bind more easily to lung cells and potentially be resistant to monoclonal therapy.
It was baptized Delta plus as it is related to the already existing variant of concern Delta (also classified as such by the World Health Organization), identified for the first time in India and ‘on the fence’ because it is hypothesized that it may have supported the second wave lethal of infections in the country. Regarding the Delta plus, the Indian Ministry of Health informs that, after being found in April on the territory, it was detected in about 40 samples from 6 districts of 3 Indian states: Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. At least 16 of these specimens were found in Maharashtra, one of the most affected by the pandemic.
But, again according to reports from the BBC, Delta plus was also found in 9 other countries: USA, United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, Russia and China, compared to the highly contagious original Delta strain, which now it has spread to 85 countries (latest WHO figure).
However, some virologists, Indian and otherwise, question the Voc label associated with the Delta plus variant. “There is no data yet to support this classification,” said scientist Gagandeep Kang. “There is a need for biological and clinical information to consider whether this is truly a variant of concern.”
The Delta plus variant contains an additional mutation called K417N on the pandemic coronavirus Spike protein, which was also found in the Beta and Gamma variants (originally identified in South Africa and Brazil).
Even with 166 Delta plus examples shared on the global Gisaid database, “we don’t have much reason to believe this is more dangerous than the original Delta variant,” adds Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport on the same line of thinking. . While Anurag Agarwal, director of the Csir-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, based in Delhi, one of the 28 Indian laboratories involved in genomic sequencing, said that “all lineages of the Delta variant are” considered “variants of concern”, so nothing. it is unusual to label the Delta plus as such. One point, however, is certain: “It is right to keep an eye on the variant”, concludes Kamil.