Union Health Ministry has considered the Delta Plus Variant as a ‘Variant of Concern’ (VoC). Based on the recent findings of INSACOG, the Union Health Ministry has alerted and advised Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh states regarding the Delta Plus variant of Covid-19 being found in some districts in these States.
Union Health Secretary has communicated the 3 three states that the new variant has been found in Genome sequenced in samples collected from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon Districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala; and Bhopal and Shivpuri district of Madhya Pradesh.
INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Dept. of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for Whole-Genome Sequencing in the context of Covid-19 pandemic.
INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also with giving timely inputs on appropriate Public Health Response measures to be adopted by States and Union Territories. INSACOG has informed that the Delta Plus Variant, currently a Variant of Concern (VOC). Delta Plus Variant has the following characteristics.
- Increased transmissibility.
- Stronger binding to receptors of Lung Cells.
- Potential reduction in Monoclonal Antibody response.
The Government of India has been proactively working towards effective Covid-19 management by the sustained strengthening of multi-level health and testing infrastructure, and through focussed Public Health Measures in active collaboration with the States.
Union Health Ministry has from time to time alerted the State Governments on critical points in the trajectory of Covid-19 for implementing an effective Public Health Response under a “Whole of Government” approach.
The States Chief Secretaries have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters (as identified by INSACOG) including Preventing crowds & Intermingling of people, Widespread testing, Prompt tracing as well as Vaccine coverage on a priority basis.