The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which took birth in the city of Wuhan, China, has spread to various countries, with many cases having been reported worldwide. We, as the second-largest population in the world with more than 1.34 billion population, had faced difficulty in controlling the transmission of Delta and Delta Plus variants of the pandemic in the second wave. While we have not yet fully come out of the effects of the second wave, experts have anticipated the third wave in the country.
When it comes to Delta and Delta Plus viruses, they are the variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that are new threats to the country’s fight against the ongoing pandemic. Delta Plus is a variant of Delta. Though we have achieved various milestones of success with new infections, nose-diving and the number of vaccinations going up, Delta and Delta plus have become a concern for us.
Let’s find the difference between the Delta variant and the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19.
Difference between Delta and Delta Plus
Delta (B.1.617.2) was first detected in India. It is a variant of interest and a variant of concern. Because Delta Plus (B.1.617.2.1/(AY.1) is a variant of Delta, it is also considered as a variant of concern. Experts are still investigating the properties of both variants detected in India (AY.1). As per the report of India’s Covid genome sequencing consortium, AY.1 cases have mostly been reported from nine countries of Asia, Europe and America. The two variants are differentiated by the K417N mutation in Spike protein which Delta Plus variants have.
- Delta was first reported in India
- Delta plus was first reported on June 11 bulletin by Public Health England
- Delta Plus infections show symptoms from both the Delta variant as well as the Beta variant, according to top virologists
- It fast emerging as the global COVID-19 variant of concern
- Delta Plus is a Delta’s mutation
- It has been the dominant variant behind the COVID caseload around the world in 2021.
- It has reportedly been found in 11 countries already.
- Delta Plus is a “variant of concern”, according to the Indian government
- Delta variant was largely responsible for India’s catastrophic second wave
- It was identified as spreading in communities in 84 other countries.
The Delta plus variant is a global concern because it shows mutations required from both the Delta strain and the Beta strain, which was discovered in India, and the Beta strain, which was discovered in South Africa. The Beta variant shows reduced efficacy of vaccines when compared with Alpha and Delta variants.
The new mutation of the B.1.617.2 strain or the Delta variant was found to have two graded mutations L452R and P871R. As per the statement made by Dr. Raman R Gangakhedkar, former head scientist of epidemiology and communicable diseases at ICMR, these two mutations add to the higher transmission efficiency so the variant has the potential to spread quickly from one person to another. Or it enters the cells much more efficiently in comparison to other strains that exist.
Is The Delta Plus Variant More Dangerous?
With reports related to the COVID-19 mutation, many studies are being done to dig out the difference in virulence, symptoms and severity of infection of the Delta Plus. This new variant shows increased transmissibility, the stronger binding capability of receptors of lung cells and a potential decrease in response to monoclonal antibody treatment. The variant reportedly spreads “almost 60 percent faster” when compared with the Delta variant.
Symptoms and Treatment
Major symptoms of the Delta Plus variant as listed are:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Skin rash
- Discoloration of fingers and toes.
Besides, nausea, stomach ache, and appetite loss are attributed to the Delta Plus variant.
When it comes to treatment, Covaxin and Covishield vaccines have shown efficacy against the Delta variant. However, experts are still researching the effectiveness of vaccines against the Delta Plus variant. But, some experts are also fearful that the variant might evade immunity gained from earlier infections or COVID-19 vaccines. There are several strategies that are required to manage the COVID-19 outbreak. These include statistical tools, computational modeling, and quantitative analysis for controlling the spread and the rapid development of a new treatment.