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COVID-19 | 21 cases of Delta Plus variant reported in Maharashtra: Health Minister Rajesh Tope

A total of 7,500 COVID-19 positive samples from Maharashtra were sent for genomic sequencing, out of which 21 turned out to be cases of Delta Plus coronavirus strain.

June 21, 2021 / 10:32 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on June 21 that 21 cases of the Delta Plus COVID-19 variant have been found in the state.

A total of 7,500 COVID-19 positive samples were tested for genomic sequencing, out of which 21 turned out to be cases of Delta Plus coronavirus strain.

More COVID-19 positive samples have reportedly been sent for genome sequencing from Maharashtra to understand if the Delta Plus cases are scattered or it is becoming dominant.

Rajesh Tope has said the Maharashtra government has begun contact tracing for Delta-plus variants.

Notably, the Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 was formed after the Delta or B.1.617.2 strain mutated further.

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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The new Delta Plus variant or B.1.617.2.1 (aka AY.1) was found in samples collected from six districts of Maharashtra, namely, Mumbai, Thane, Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Palghar, and Jalgaon.

Here is the breakup of Delta Plus COVID-19 variant cases in the different districts of Maharashtra:

Ratnagiri: 9

Jalgaon: 7

Mumbai: 2

Palghar: 1

Sindhudurg: 1

Thane: 1

According to NITI Aayog member (Health) Dr VK Paul, the Delta Plus strain has not been classified as a variant of concern yet. He said: “The present status is that yes, a new variant has been found. This is as of now a Variant of Interest (VoI), not as yet classified as a Variant of Concern (VoC). VoC is one in which we have understood that there are adverse consequences to humanity, which could be due to increased transmissibility or virulence. We do not know at this moment this about the Delta Plus variant.”

Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here
Moneycontrol News
first published: Jun 21, 2021 10:32 pm

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