Even as of the 45 k -plus genomes sequenced till date, the country has reported only 41 Delta Ay.1 or only 0.08 per cent Delta plus variant cases, still the nagging home-truth is the new more virulent variant has set its tentacles in as many as 8 states. And another big concerning fact is a 4-year old kid has been found to be infected with the lethal mutant in Kerala.
Worry For Odisha?
As per the latest reports, a single case of Delta Plus variant has been detected in the neighbouring state of Andhra Pradesh. This assumes significance when seen in the context of the data with GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data).
As per the GISAID, during the last week of March, a transmission line from Andhra Pradesh has reached Odisha during the second wave. Though Odisha has continued with the travel restrictions it has imposed on to and fro travel from Andhra Pradesh.
The GISAID data reveals the existing scope of spreading from other states to Odisha. But the respite for the State is the prevalence of the new lethal variant is not yet has been detected from the places (Mumbai, Akola, Pune, Thane et al) in Maharashtra or Andhra Pradesh (Vizag, Vijaywada etc) where large migrant workers from the State are eking out a livelihood.
But as the variant in Maharashtra has been reported far away from Ratnagiri district (coastal Maharashtra) - northern Jalgaon district. This shows the variant's lethal footprints are moving on to far off places. Therefore, the concern for Odisha.
Does Delta Plus have Any New Symptoms?
As per a study by King's College, London, investigations are on regarding the new variant of concern. The UK has so far detected 41 Delta AY.1 cases. But preliminary reports of the continuing investigations reveal that most of the positives belong to the younger age group and are not vaccinated.
And the important is beside the 14 general symptoms, a set of new symptoms have been observed among the positives carrying the new variant. The symptoms are:
• GI disorder: Means gastro-intestinal disorder symptoms, especially stomach ache.
• Vomiting, nausea and apatite loss.
• Also noticed is Headache
• Hearing impairment
• Joint Pain
So, researchers and doctors in the premier institute in London have observed that all need to go for a test if you have such persisting symptoms that come with no previous disease history and refuses to subside.
Why did Union Health Ministry call it A VOC?
As per Union Health Ministry assessment, besides having increased transmissibility, the variant has the ability to bind strongly to the receptor of lung cells and the characteristic of making the monoclonal antibody treatment ineffective.
What Does This Mean?
According to research studies, the ability to bind with receptors of lung cells is described in molecular biological science as the virus having an increased affinity towards the ACE2 (angiotensin-converting enzyme 2) receptors.
This characteristic of the mutant is behind its increased transmissibility. The significance is it lowers the threshold (minimum effective concentration) of viral particles needed to make cell entry probable - means more individuals are likely to become infected from lesser exposure.
Therefore, a Variant Of Concern (VOC).