At least 22 specimens of the variant have been found in Ratnagiri and Jalgaon in the state of Maharashtra, Palakkad and Pathanamthitta in Kerala, and in Bhopal and Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh.
And it has now emerged that 41 cases of the Delta plus variant have been found in the UK.
Public Health England’s latest variant report confirms that 41 of the 75,953 Delta cases sequenced in the UK were the B.1.617.2 Delta plus mutation.
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The Indian federal government has asked the affected states to take action on containment, contact tracing and testing in the clusters where the new variant has been found.
Scientists have warned that Delta Plus has three disturbing characteristics; increased transmissibility, stronger binding in lung cell receptors and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
Speaking to Sky News, Dr Lance Pinto, consultant pulmonologist at Hinduja National Hospital, said: “We are very concerned about the Delta plus variant, given that it has a mutation attributed to the Beta variant – escaping to the immunity offered by the Astra Vaccine (the vaccine received by a majority in India).
“Concerns also revolve around the possibility of re-infections as there are reports that the variant escapes neutralization with the antibody cocktail. “
Experts have said repeatedly that the virus will constantly mutate over time, with some variants posing a risk because they could evade the immune system.
PHE said that two doses of the two Oxford-AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are effective against the Delta variant – but more data is needed on another mutation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his government and the scientific community have warned of a third wave that could sweep the country in a few weeks.
The devastating effects of the second wave ravaged the country in April and May. Almost 10 million cases and more than 150,000 deaths are believed to have occurred during this period.
The second wave saw the virus penetrate all parts of the country, including rural India, where most people live.
Public health care in small towns and villages is woefully inadequate and in many places non-existent. For decades successive governments have spent just over 1.2% of GDP on public health care, and a severe pandemic has brought the system to pieces.
Now COVID-19[feminine[feminine cases are on the decline and lockdown restrictions in most parts of the country have been lifted.
But Dr Pinto warned: “The medical fraternity is constantly worried that every reprieve will be followed by complacency and subsequently, by an outbreak; and as someone who has witnessed the devastating effects of flare-ups so far, I hope we will do our best for the impact of the next wave. “
With more than 30 million cases, India is the second most affected country after the United States. Although the death rate is low, around 390,000 people have died so far.
India’s immunization program, which began on January 16, has been poor and mired in controversy over process and supply.
Although 280 million vaccines have been administered so far, less than 4% of the adult population have received their second dose, while 17% have received only one injection.