At least eight persons have been found infected with the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus in Madhya Pradesh so far, state Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said on Saturday, adding none of the contacts of these patients was found to be infected with this strain.
According to officials, two persons who died in May this year were found to be infected with the Delta Plus variant. Speaking to reporters, Sarang said the patients infected with the Delta Plus variant are being tested as per protocol and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has been regularly sharing information with the state in this regard.
''At least eight cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus have been brought to our notice so far. Our constant focus is to ramp up testing,'' Sarang said. The authorities had carried out contact tracing of these patients and none of the contacts was found to be infected with this variant, he said.
The minister further said Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has decided to set up a laboratory in Bhopal for genome sequencing so that people infected with different mutations of coronavirus can be detected at the earliest. Once a genome sequencing machine is installed in Bhopal, the test reports for various mutations of coronavirus can be received within five days, he said.
Meanwhile, officials said two persons who died in May this year were found to be infected with the Delta Plus variant. They were residents of Ashoknagar and Ujjain. While the deaths had occurred in May, their reports of being infected with Delta Plus variant were received later, it was stated.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
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.
The Chief Medical and Health Officer (CMHO) of Ashoknagar Himanshu Sharma on Saturday told PTI that the person found infected with the Delta Plus variant was being treated in Bhopal after testing positive for coronavirus in May, and had died on May 13.
A couple of days earlier, it was found during a random genome sequencing test that he had been infected with the Delta Plus variant, he said. Earlier on Friday, Ujjain Collector Ashish Singh had confirmed that a 59-year-old woman, who died of COVID-19 on May 23, was infected with the Delta Plus variant. She had tested positive for coronavirus on May 17.
Madhya Pradesh on Friday recorded 50 new cases of COVID-19 and 22 casualties that pushed the tally of infections to 7,89,611 and took the toll to 8,871, as per the state Health department.