Even as concerns over the Covid-19 Delta Plus variant remain high in the country, senior health experts in the country are at loss to conclusively estimate the danger posed by the mutation to the Indian population. Raman Gangakhedkar, ex-Head Scientist of Epidemiology & communicable diseases, ICMR told news agency ANI that the Delta plus variant remains a concern as the combination of Delta plus variant and N501Y variant which was first traced in South Africa were able to develop escape mutants capable of neutralising the effect of COvid-19 vaccines. However, Gangakhedkar added that the delta plus variant alone might not be enough to obliterate the immune response generated by Covid-19 vaccines.
On the question of probable faster transmission capability of delta plus variant, Dr. Gangakhedkar said that as of now there is no evidence from around the world which proves that delta plus variant has more rapid transmission capability in comparison to other Covid-19 variants. Quoting the data released by Public Health England on June 15, Dr Gangakhedkar said that out of the 45000 sequences that were infected by Delta and Delta Plus variants, only 100 odd sequences had been found to be infected with the Delta Plus variant during the study. Analysing the Public Health England data, he said that if the variant had remained a low transmissible variant till June 15, it might not be expected to predominate later also.
Echoing Dr Gangakhedkar, Dr Niroj Mishra, who is a Bhubaneswar based health expert, told ANI that studies have shown that the vaccines being administered in India will even work against the Delta Plus variant. Dr Mishra further said that provided that appropriate public health measures are taken in the country, there is no need to panic from the Delta Plus variant. Currently, the Delta plus variant of Coronavirus has been traced in genome sequencing samples in more than 10 states in the country.