The World Health Organization (WHO) official further said that there might be a "constellation of mutations" in the future. (Representative image)
Existing COVID-19 vaccines are showing reduced signs of efficacy against the Delta variant of coronavirus, which was first identified in India, Hindustan Times reported citing a World Health Organization (WHO) epidemiologist. However, the jabs are still found to be effective at preventing severe illness and deaths, it said.
`Follow our LIVE blog for the latest updates of the novel coronavirus pandemic
B.1.617.2 Delta variant is becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly increased transmissibility, WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said on June 18. It was first detected in India around October 2020.
“The whole situation is so dynamic because of the variants that are now circulating and...the Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly increased transmissibility,” Swaminathan said responding to a question at a press briefing in Geneva on the day.
Also read | Covishield only 33-60% effective against Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, warns top US health expert
Earlier, the COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update issued by the WHO on June 15 said that the Delta variant is now being reported in about 80 countries around the world. Another 12 countries and areas are reporting the detection of B.1.617 without further specification of lineage at this time.
In India, 21 cases of the 'Delta plus' variant of COVID-19 have been found in Maharashtra so far, said state health minister Rajesh Tope on June 21. Talking to reporters, Tope said the highest nine cases were reported in Ratnagiri followed by seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai, and one case each in Palghar, Thane, and Sindhudurg districts.
In Kerala, at least three cases of SARS-CoV-2 Delta-plus variant have been found in samples collected from two Kerala districts- Palakkad and Pathanamthitta, officials said on the day.
Also read | COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: 86.16 lakh doses administered in India on June 21
Also, the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 was said to be the main circulating strain in Chandigarh during the recent second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. "During the second wave, the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) and Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) were found to be present among 61 percent and 30 percent of the samples respectively which were sent for whole-genome sequencing to the NCDC," said Jagat Ram, director of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER).
(With inputs from PTI)Follow our full coverage on COVID-19 here.