The Union Health Ministry has warned Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh about the presence of 'Delta Plus' variant of coronavirus in some districts of the states, and asked them to take appropriate measures.
The Delta Plus variant has been found by INSACOG in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra, Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala, and Bhopal and Shivpuri districts of Madhya Pradesh, the health ministry said in a statement.
INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Depatment of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for whole genome sequencing in the context of COVID-19 pandemic.
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The Delta Plus variant has higher transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potentially reduces monoclonal antibody response, as per INSACOG.
While the measures to be taken by states against the variant will broadly remain the same as those implemented by them earlier, they will have to become more focused and effective, the statement said.
The chief secretaries of the states have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters, as identified by INSACOG, including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis.
"They were also advised to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be made for further guidance to be provided to states," the ministry said.
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