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COVID-19: India identifies Delta Plus, an even more aggressive new variant of coronavirus

Delta Plus has higher transmissibility, binds more easily to lung cells, decreases the response to antibodies and is already found in 9 countries.

As the Indian variant (known officially as Delta by the WHO) spreads around the world, leading to new outbreaks even in countries that are rapidly advancing in vaccination, a new variant of concern based on Delta was identified in the subcontinental country:

Is about Delta Plus (AY.1),a variant identified in mid-April in the central states of Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

Photo: Yawar Nazir / .

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The main Delta Plus mutation lies in the spike-shaped protein s and is known as K417N, a characteristic shared with both the Delta variant and the Beta (South African). This change makes it more resistant to antibodies, said the Indian Ministry of Health.

The Minister of Health of India introduced Delta Plus as a variant of concern, because the first analyzes of INSACOG (Indian institution created in December 2020 to carry out epidemiological monitoring and surveillance of SARS-CoV-2) show three characteristics that could cause an uncontrolled outbreak of the virus: has a higher transmissibility, joins more powerfully to lung cells and has the potential to decrease response to antibodies monoclonals that fight it.

Regen-CovPhoto: Raj K Raj / Hindustan Times via .

The Delta variant was first identified in India in October 2020. And although conclusive studies are still needed, the main hypothesis is that its rapid expansion was the cause of the second wave of COVID-19 in India in early May 2021 , which overflowed the hospitals and caused up to 400,000 new cases and 4,000 deaths a day.

While the variant Original delta is present in at least 80 countries and is the main cause of new outbreaks even in mostly vaccinated populations such as Australia and Israel, the presence of Delta Plus has been notified in at least 9 countries: United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, Russia and China.

However, more studies are still needed to know for sure the characteristics of Delta Plus and its possible impact on the course of the pandemic worldwide.

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