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COVID-19 | 90% genome sequencing samples in Tripura test positive for Delta Plus variant

Health experts said that of all COVID-19 patients in the state, between 50-60 percent were infected with the double mutant (Delta) variant of the virus.

July 10, 2021 / 01:54 PM IST
NITI Aayog Member VK Paul had earlier said that a new mutation has been detected called Delta plus variant and it has been there since March 2021 in Europe.  (Image: By Sue Rae Edmondson/Shutterstock)

NITI Aayog Member VK Paul had earlier said that a new mutation has been detected called Delta plus variant and it has been there since March 2021 in Europe. (Image: By Sue Rae Edmondson/Shutterstock)

Genome sequencing undertaken to contain the highly transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant has shown that 90 percent of the samples tested in Tripura were the new Delta Plus strain. The number of Delta cases in the state is now 138, media reported.

"About 151 samples were sent to a government laboratory in West Bengal and 138 or 90 percent of them were found to be the Delta plus variant," said Dr Deep Debbarma, Chief Nodal Officer of COVID-19 in Tripura.

Giving a breakdown of where the samples came from, Dr. Debbarma said that 115 of the 138 samples came from the West district, while 8 were from Sepahijala district, 5 from Gomati, 4 from Unakoti, 2 each from the North and South districts, and 1 each from Khowai and Dhalai districts.

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Besides these 138 cases, 10 samples tested positive for Delta and another 3 for the Alpha variant.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

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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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Health experts said that of all COVID-19 patients in the state, between 50-60 percent were infected with the double mutant (Delta) variant of the virus.

Dr Tapan Majumder, Microbiology Department Head at Agartala Government Medical College (AGMC) said the variant is infecting young people and even children, which is a “matter of concern”.

The data has alarmed officials as Tripura is among the most highly vaccinated states in India. The state government has re-imposed a full curfew during the weekends (from 12 pm on Friday till 6 am on Monday) to try and break the transmission rate.

Besides this, urban areas such as the capital Agartala have also been put under curfew.

Tripura’s total tally of cases is at 56,169, its death toll is 574 and active cases are 5,152. The daily positivity rate is a high 5 percent.

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first published: Jul 10, 2021 01:54 pm

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