THE DELTA PLUS VARIANT: SHOULD WE GET WORRIED ABOUT IT?
10 Nov 2021
The former ‘Delta ’ variant, first identified in ‘India’ was a worrisome variant already, now there is the ‘Delta plus’, that has been labeled as ‘Variant of concern’, by the Government of India. The Delta variant was thought to have driven the second wave of the prevailing covid-19. India's health ministry says studies showed that the so-called Delta plus variant - also known as AY.1 - spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy.
Let us look at the actual composition of the ‘Delta’ variant before assuming the severity of the ‘Delta plus’ variant:- SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2, is a variant of lineage B.1.617 of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19. It was first detected in India in late 2020. The World Health Organization (WHO) named it the Delta variant on 31 May 2021.
SYMPTOMS OF DELTA PLUS VARIANT:-
As this variant has been labeled as a variant of ‘concern’, the symptoms have also changed from the conventional symptoms of the covid-19. The symptoms associated with Delta plus variant are:-
● Runny Nose
● Sore Throat
However, the PREVENTIONS/PRECAUTIONS to be kept in mind remains the same and are as follows:-
● Covering your mouth and nose with a face mask,
● Maintain social distancing,
● Maintain hygiene, by washing your hands for at least 20 seconds,
● Do not touch your mouth, eyes and nose when out,
● Avoid going to crowded places,
● Avoid staying at places with poor-ventilation
● Getting tested, if developed symptoms,
● Isolate yourself, if necessary,
● Get vaccinated.
Now, as we have read about all the symptoms that differed from the past variants, the precautions to be taken and its composition, let us now talk about its probable severity-
The transmissibility of this variant is being monitored and lab tests are also underway to check the effects of the vaccine over this variant. However, the experts have passed a positive remark, that this particular
variant does not seem to be more infectious/severe than the original Delta variant.
Let us now take a look at what doctors/experts have to say about the Delta-plus variant-
● Dr Agrawal said any Delta sub-lineage is a variant of concern that needs to be investigated further.
● Dr Agrawal said Delta Plus is not rising faster than the Delta variant.
● “Studies are underway, but at present we cannot say there is an increase in transmission of the Delta Plus variant based on genomic data or lab studies,” Dr Singh said.
● Leading immunologist Dr Vineeta Bal stressed the importance of understanding how transmissible this variant could be. “We need to test the Delta Plus variant in tissue culture and compare it with the original Wuhan virus and the Delta variant to evaluate relative efficiency to enter cells expressing ACE-2 receptors. Whether it is more efficient or not in spreading the infection can then be extrapolated to speculate on its transmissibility,” she said.
● In Maharashtra, where 21 cases were reported, Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer said they have identified 20 persons infected with Delta Plus (there has been one death). “Our investigations are underway, but there has not been an alarming rise in cases. The focus is on tracing the contacts of the index cases apart from stepping surveillance of Influenza-like illness cases in these areas and monitoring breakthrough and re-infection cases,” he said.
CONCLUSION: SHOULD WE GET WORRIED ABOUT IT?
After looking at what the doctors, and experts said for the ‘Delta-plus’ variant, we cannot come to a positive conclusion yet, however there are certain practices which can help us prevent and eradicate covid-19. Doctors advise to stay indoors as much as one can, wash hands regularly and maintain basic hygiene, avoid forming crowds and visiting crowded places. Particularly to ensure utmost safety, people are advised to do double masking, ensure vaccinations (both doses) and develop absolutely zero-tolerance for non-adherence to covid appropriate behavior.
The ‘Delta plus’ variant, if not classified as more severe than the original ‘Delta’ variant, does not make it any less fatal than it also. As rightly said “Precaution is better than cure”, we need to prevent the contraction of the disease, and help our government eradicate it by following covid appropriate behavior.
The next significant step after taking appropriate behaviors is getting vaccinated-If someone has contracted Covid-19, one has to wait for a small period of time (as directed by their doctor), and thereafter get vaccinated.
And if someone who has not contracted the virus yet, should immediately get vaccinated to prevent getting contracted.
PLEASE FOLLOW COVID APPROPRIATE BEHAVIORS. STAY SAFE, HEALTHY AND INDOORS.
-By Smridhi Nangia