The Delta plus variant is an aggressively mutated version of the Delta strain, which was responsible for the second COVID-19 wave in India. While the severity of the new mutant strain is unknown, AIIMS chief Dr. Randeep Guleria said that the new virus could become a “variant of concern” if left unchecked in India. This could possibly lead to a disastrous third wave.
According to WHO, the Delta virus itself was the most widespread variant affecting 85 counties, spreading rapidly amongst unvaccinated individuals. Thus now, health experts fear the worst. As countries all around the globe are beginning to relax social and public restrictions, this could only lead to an increase in the spread of the new strain.
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) June 26, 2021
Situation in India
Primarily, the higher rates of breakthrough infections observed in the new Delta plus variant are alarming. This means that it can even infect vaccinated individuals. Until now, a total of 51 Delta plus cases have been detected in 12 states of India. The state of Maharashtra has the maximum number of cases. Out of the 51 cases, medical staff, nurses and doctors have shown a higher infection rate due to their significantly higher exposure to the virus.
Leading virologists of India as reported by the Hindustan Times, stated that Delta Plus showed Delta both beta variant symptoms including stomach ache, nausea, appetite loss, cough, diarrhoea, fever, headache, rash, discoloration of fingers and toes, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
The only solution
As reported by the ANI news agency, the representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Russia, Melita Vujnovic, while on the YouTube show, Soloviev Live, said that administration of vaccine and safety measures are necessary to combat the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus. Explaining further she said, “Vaccinations plus masks, because just a vaccine is not enough with ‘Delta’. We need to make an effort over a short period of time, otherwise there would be a lockdown”. Lastly, highlighting the need for “additional measures” to curb the virus altogether.
Therefore, the Indian government must strive for proactive instead of reactive measures and policies. Governments must quite simply remember WHO’s advice of “more transmission, more variants. Less transmission, less variants”. Re-opening society is crucial but not at the detriment of a potential third wave.