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No sufficient data to be alarmed about Delta Plus variant: Maharashtra COVID-19 task force member

Notably, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said 21 cases of the Delta Plus variant, considered highly infectious, have been found in the state so far, including nine in Ratnagiri, seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai, and one case each in Palghar, Thane and Sindhudurg districts.

June 23, 2021 / 11:41 AM IST
Representational image

Representational image

Maharashtra COVID-19 task force member Dr Shashank Joshi on Wednesday said there is no sufficient data available to be alarmed about the 'Delta Plus' variant of coronavirus.

He also said people need to adhere to COVID-19 prevention guidelines and wear masks, avoid crowds and get vaccinated.

Notably, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday said 21 cases of the Delta Plus variant, considered highly infectious, have been found in the state so far, including nine in Ratnagiri, seven in Jalgaon, two in Mumbai, and one case each in Palghar, Thane and Sindhudurg districts.

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Dr Joshi in a tweet on Wednesday said, "Variant of concern, vaccine and Panic. Delta plus variant of concern does not have sufficient data to be alarmed except that we must continue our strict COVID appropriate behaviour with double mask, avoid crowds and continue vaccination.”

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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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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“Delta plus virulence unknown, transmission may be more,” he added.

The new Delta Plus variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India and one of the drivers of the deadly second wave.

Though there is no indication yet of the severity of the disease due to the new variant, Delta Plus is resistant to the monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment for COVID-19 recently authorised in India.

Some cases of the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 have also been found in Madhya Pradesh and Kerala.

India is among the 10 countries where the Delta Plus mutation has been found so far, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said on Tuesday.

According to a statement issued by the Union Health Ministry, INSACOG had informed that the Delta Plus variant, "currently a variant of concern (VOC)", has these characteristics -- increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

Besides India, the Delta Plus variant has been found in the US, UK, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, China and Russia.

The Delta variant is found in 80 countries around the world, including India, and it is a variant of concern, Bhushan had said.

Follow our full coverage of the coronavirus pandemic here.
PTI
first published: Jun 23, 2021 11:41 am

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