Delta variant and Delta Plus variant both are new forms of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They have become new threats to India’s fight against the ongoing pandemic. According to the health ministry, Delta plus variant is an extension of the Delta variant (Delta variant wreaked havoc during the second wave in India). Also known as AY.1, Delta Plus spreads more easily, binds more to lung cells.
Difference between Delta and Delta Plus
- Delta Variant – The Delta variant is a variant of SARS-CoV-2. It was the main reason for the second wave in India. It had wreaked havoc in the country. This variant had increased transmissibility and more severe infections. Currently, the Delta variant has become a global concern dominating the number of infections all across the world.
- Delta Plus Variant – Delta Plus ((B.1.617.2.1) is a variant of Delta, which was first found in a sample collected on April 5, 2021. It is treated as a variant of concern. While Delta Plus is growing in India, it requires more research. Its properties are still being investigated. AY.1 cases have mostly reported from nine countries of Europe, Asia, and America, according to India’s Covid genome sequencing consortium. The Delta and Delta Plus variants are differentiated by the K417N mutation in Spike protein which Delta Plus variants have.
What is AY.2 Another Variant of Delta?
Experts in India say Delta Plus can be the reason behind the third wave. Besides it being en found most common in India, there are other Delta Plus variants with other mutations. One such variant is AY.2, which has been found in the United States. There are no cases of AY.2 in India yet. Scientists worry that the mutation with additional features of the Delta variant may make this new virus strain more transmissible.
Is Delta Plus More Transmissible, Virulent Than Delta?
Delta Plus is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody cocktail therapy. In this therapy, artificial antibodies are produced in the body to neutralize the virus. However, medical experts in India have confirmed that resistance to monoclonal antibody therapy does not mean that Delta Plus is more virulent.
COVID-19 Vaccines Effectiveness
Studies are being conducted by medical sciences in India and globally to measure how effective COVID-19 vaccines are against this mutation. Experts are of the view that Covishield and Covaxin are effective on the Delta variant. However, they yet to confirm the effectiveness on the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus virus.
Does Delta Plus Cause Higher Public Health Risk?
The World Health Organization is tracking the Delta Plus variant as part of the Delta variant as being done for other variants of concern coupled with additional mutations. WHO states that the Delta Plus variant for this moment does not appear to be common currently accounting for only a small fraction of the Delta sequences. Delta and other circulating Variants of Concern are a higher public health risk as they have demonstrated increases in transmission. Delta Plus may inflict another wave of infections in India after the country has emerged from the world’s worst surge in cases only recently.
Delta Plus Variant Symptoms
This new strain of COVID-19 is much more harmful. It is spreading faster than the COVID-19 variant Alpha, infecting the human body 60% faster than the earlier variant. Notwithstanding studies are going on this newest variant of Coronavirus. Scientists have somewhat spotted the differences between the COVID-19 virus and the Delta Plus mutant. Some preliminary studies have uncovered symptoms of the Delta Plus variant, including but not limited to-
- Loss of taste and smell
- Usual dry cough, fever, tiredness
- Aches and pains, skin rashes
- Breathlessness or shortness of breath
- Toes and fingers discoloration
- Nausea, appetite loss, and vomiting
- Conjunctivitis and sore throat
- Diarrhea, headache, and chest pain
- Joint pains and hearing impairment
- Stomach ache and speech loss
Like other types of viruses, coronavirus keeps mutating. A virus mutation is a process in which the virus genetic information upgrades due to repeated copying errors. These mutations of the COVID-19 virus lead to breeding new variants. Some of these new variants spread more easily or cause more severe symptoms of COVID-19 disease and a higher fatality rate.
India has already crossed multiple milestones of success with new infections nosediving and the number of vaccinations going up. Getting vaccinated is the most effective way to be protected from severe health issues. COVID-19 vaccines available in India are Covishield, Covaxin, Sputnik. Besides vaccination, stay home as much as possible. Avoid going outside. Use double masks. If you are observant about it, you will win over the Delta Plus Variant as we have done during the first and second wave of COVID-19 in India.