Maharashtra reports 21 cases of 'Delta Plus' variant
Twenty-one cases of the "Delta Plus" variant of COVID-19, considered highly infectious, have been found in Maharashtra so far, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope has 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, Tope told reporters on Monday.
Genome sequencing of 7,500 samples was done: Tope
He said 7,500 samples from different parts of the state were collected and sent for laboratory testing. "These samples were collected since May 15 and their genome sequencing was done," the minister said. Genome sequencing allows the tracking of small mutations in SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, meaning chains of transmission can be identified.
Travel history and other information about them is being collected
The scientific process also assists in identifying missing links in the chain of transmission. Tope said complete information about the people detected with the Delta Plus variant is being sought, including their travel history, whether they were vaccinated or not, and if they were reinfected.
Delta Plus variant may trigger third wave in Maharashtra
"Their contacts are being traced and tested," the minister said, adding that information on the mutation of Delta and Delta Plus variants is also being scrutinized. Last week, the Maharashtra health department made a presentation where it said the newly identified Delta Plus variant may trigger a third wave of the pandemic in the state.
New variant formed due to mutation in the Delta variant
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, state COVID-19 task force members as well as the health department officials had attended the presentation. The new Delta Plus variant has been formed due to a mutation in the Delta variant or B.1.617.2 variant which was first identified in India and one of the drivers of the deadly COVID-19 second wave.
The variant is resistant to monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment
Though there is no indication yet of the severity of the disease due to the new variant, Delta Plus is resistant to monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment recently authorized in India. On Monday, Maharashtra reported 6,270 new coronavirus cases, a four-month low daily count, taking its COVID-19 tally to 59,79,051, while 94 deaths pushed the toll to 1,18,313, as per the state health department.