Too early to predict 'Delta Plus' variant may trigger third wave

Too early to predict Delta Plus variant may trigger third wave
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Barricades are being put in Tirumala Nagar gram panchayat in Tirupati which is made a red zone following the first Delta Plus Covid case identified from the area.

Highlights

After the first Delta Plus Covid variant case was reported in Tirupati a couple of days back, people have been expressing several apprehensions about its severity and possible further spread.

Tirupati: After the first Delta Plus Covid variant case was reported in Tirupati a couple of days back, people have been expressing several apprehensions about its severity and possible further spread. The area where that patient has been residing is under the scanner of medical and health department. Already, the entire area has been made a red zone and several

samples of positive patients were sent to CCMB, Hyderabad for genome sequencing.

In this backdrop, the head of medicine department in SVIMS Dr Alladi Mohan said that the Ministry for Health and Family Welfare of Government of India has declared the Delta Plus 'a variant is of concern'. Speaking to The Hans India, he made it clear that during the process of virus multiplication mutation happens through which it transforms into a more virulent or transmissible virus or it may become ineffective also.

As Sars-Cov-2 is undergoing various mutations, Delta Plus which carries K417N spike protein mutation is a further modification to it which is on the tip of the spike helping it bind more tightly to human cells. As it is constantly mutating, it is too early to say whether it drive the third wave though it has the transmissibility, he said.

Still there is no evidence so far to say that it is more virulent and it is being studied. Delta seems to be around 60 per cent more transmissible than the already highly infectious Alpha variant also called B.1.1.7 which is identified in the United Kingdom in late 2020 as a highly transmissible strain.

Dr Mohan was emphatic in saying that whatever the variant or mutation, physical distancing, hand cleanliness and masking should never be ignored. "If you keep yourself masked, you are protecting yourself from others and you are protecting others from you. Since we cannot control others to wear masks, we take care of ourselves by wearing it. Whenever we come out of our bio-bubble we should have a mask. When we ignore this, we are prone to any variant", he underlined.

To a question, he said that vaccines appear to be reasonably protective against viruses. As vaccines protect from deaths, they were designed with that purpose only people should take them when their turn comes to get the protection from any new strains.

Meanwhile, a gene sequencer machine has arrived at SVIMS which needs to be installed and trial run has to be performed following certain protocols. It helps in surveillance and decentralisation of gene sequencing process which is now done at CCMB, Hyderabad.

Once it comes into use, the randomised samples as directed by the government can be tested more quickly to study the new variants not necessarily that of Covid related but any other viruses. Dr Mohan said it is a boon for this area though it is for research purposes only and treatment protocol will remain the same.

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