Even as the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic is yet to abate in Odisha, the State has now a fresh reason to worry. The State on Friday reported its first case of Delta Plus variant, a new mutant version of the Delta strain of SARS-CoV-2 first detected in India.
The Director of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr SK Singh informed about it while addressing a Union Health Ministry’s press conference on the Covid situation in the country.
Singh has informed that out of the total 48 cases of Delta Plus Covid variant, one positive has been identified from Odisha. Soon after the Health Ministry’s briefing, Odisha Health Department also confirmed detection of the mutant virus case from Deogarh.
Delta plus (B.1.617.2.1/(AY.1), said to be a variant with increased transmissibility, is the latest in the long list of new mutant forms of the Delta strain (B.1.617.2 variant) of the virus which had largely been blamed for fuelling second wave of the pandemic in India. Meanwhile, health experts have warned that the new, more virulent variant may lead to the spurt of a third wave of the pandemic in the country.
So far, Maharashtra which was the worst hit state in the second surge of the virus cases has detected 20 cases, the maximum number of Delta Plus positives. Tamil Nadu comes in second place with 9 cases and Madhya Pradesh with 7 cases.
The Union Health Ministry has asked States reporting the new strain of infections to take up immediate containment measures in these districts by preventing clustering of crowds, intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing and ensuring vaccine coverage on a priority basis.
Balram Bhargava, Director General, ICMR has assured that the new cases of Delta plus variant have been localised and there is no need to panic. The two vaccines currently in use across the country Covaxin and Covishield are working against all variants like alpha, beta, gamma as well as delta.
The Delta Plus variant of virus has been isolated and is being cultured. Looking at the lab test to check the vaccine effect&we should have the results in about 7-10 days time, informed Bhargava.
Chief of the Directorate of Medical Education & Training (DMET) CBK Mohanty has said that thorough contact tracing and inspection of the travel history of the infected person will be carried out.
All Covid protocols which have been laid out for the earlier versions of the virus will remain valid for this variant as well. Vaccination is believed to eradicate any big threat from this variant of the virus. This apart, strict adherence to Corona protocols is also very important, said Mohanty.