Srinagar, Aug 6: Jammu and Kashmir has reported one case of Delta plus variant of Covid-19 so far, the Union Health Ministry has informed.
As per the government data, a total of 83 cases of Delta plus variant of Covid-19 have been reported in India till August 4 with Maharashtra registering 33 of these cases followed by Madhya Pradesh with 11 and Tamil Nadu 10,
Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar in a written reply in Lok Sabha stated, adding that inclusion of private labs in Indian INSACOG (SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium) is under consideration.
As per the health department official here, the first and so far lone case of Delta Plus variant reported in J&K was on June 23. It was found at Katra in Reasi district.
Chief Secretary of J&K, Arun Kumar Mehta during a meeting last week informed that the genome sequencing of samples taken from Covid patients revealed that about 80% of infections in Jammu and Kashmir are primarily due to the delta variant of the virus which is highly contagious and can lead to development of severe symptoms in patients.
However, doctors explain that delta variant and delta plus variant of Covid are different and cannot be considered a single variant.
"Delta and Delta Plus variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have emerged as new threats to India's fight against the ongoing pandemic which witnessed several milestones of success with new infections nose-diving and the number of vaccinations going up. Delta, first detected in India, is a global concern while Delta Plus — with 40 cases in India — requires more research. Delta Plus is a variant of Delta," said a senior doctor.
Delta (B.1.617.2) was first detected in India. It is a variant of concern and a variant of interest.
As Delta Plus (B.1.617.2.1/(AY.1) is a variant of Delta, it is also treated as a variant of concern. But the properties of the variant detected in India (AY.1) are still being investigated. According to India's Covid genome sequencing consortium, AY.1 cases have mostly reported from nine countries of Europe, Asia and America.
Delta Plus has been formed as a result of Delta acquiring a mutation called K417N in the spike protein. The K417N mutation, carried by both AY.1 and AY.2, is also found in the Beta variant or B.1.351, first reported in South Africa and classified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization (WHO).
"States are regularly advised to send samples for genome sequencing and provide clinical data of positive persons to enable greater epidemiological insights to identify link between surge in cases at various places to the variants, the minister stated.
Elaborating on the steps being taken to check the spread of the Delta variant, Pawar said to monitor the variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus, initially genomic sequencing was conducted through National Institute of Virology, Pune.
Subsequently, the Centre established Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG) in December 2020 as a consortium of 10 laboratories of the Ministry of Health, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).