As many as 48 cases of Delta Plus variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have been detected in the country, spread across 10 states and one Union Territory with the majority found in Maharashtra said the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in a press briefing on Friday.
The states included Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Gujarat, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Rajasthan, Jammu and Karnataka.
Dr Sujeet Kumar Singh, director at National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) informed that 45,000 samples have been sequenced so far by 28 laboratories from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). and the detection of Variants of Concern (VOC) in them.
“Forming a scientific opinion on a variant takes time. Genome sequencing takes 10-12 days. Then some more samples are sometimes sought from the state to find out whether the particular variant is linked to the spike in the cases.” Dr Singh said the plus in the name of Delta Plus does not denote more virulence.
Speaking on the Delta variant, which is declared as the variant of concern worldwide, Dr Singh said it was first reported in India, had a minimum presence in the country in December.
As per the union health ministry, In March 2021, the Delta spread to 52 districts in March’ 21 while by June, it was reported in 174 districts.
“But the trend is declining. At present, the Delta variant can be found in 174 districts in 35 states, the highest being reported from Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Telangana, West Bengal and Gujarat. The distribution was not uniform. In some places, Delta variant cases were minimum at the beginning and then gradually Delta took over Alpha, Dr Singh said, adding that Delta is stronger than Alpha. From 10% to 51%: Rise in one month,” he informed.
“Wherever you find a cluster, you have to contain it,” Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general, Indian Council of Medical Research said adding that the second wave of the pandemic is not yet over.