It is too early to ascertain whether Delta Plus, the new variant of the Delta strain of COVID-19 first detected in India, will be responsible for a third wave of coronavirus, which according to experts will hinge upon several other factors.
Labelled as a "variant of concern" by the Centre, Delta Plus is said to be more infectious, however, its severity is still unknown.
Several studies are also currently underway on the mutant strain. The variant is formed due to a mutation in the Delta or B.1.617.2 strain.
Highlighting that there is still no concern for the third wave of COVID-19, Dr Sumit Aggarwal, Scientist and Program Officer, Division of Epidemiology and Communicable disease, Indian Council of Medical Research, told ANI, that "it's too early to predict the third wave, third wave depends on many other factors."
"It's a normal tendency of a every mRNA virus that mutation will happen. These mutations are inevitable, we cannot control the mutation. So, as the time progresses, we will proceed further. So there will be a variation. Initially there was alpha, then delta and now delta plus," he added. Dr Aggarwal further stated that more mutations could be seen in the future.
"So, now in future we may see more mutations. Yes, definitely it's a new virus and MoHFW has also released a statement that this is a virus of concern because this is a new variant and we have started the studies. We confirmed 40 cases of Delta plus variant in three states are involved, Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh," he noted.
Dr Aggarwal further stated that three characters of the variant have been recognised till now.
"High transmissibility, it shows high affinity towards the lung cells and less response to the monoclonal antibodies therapy," he added.
Majority of the COVID-19 cases of Delta Plus variant in India have been detected in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala.
The health ministry has advised these states to step up containment measures in districts affected by the mutant strain.
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