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Delta Plus: New coronavirus variant identified: All about it

A new variant of the coronavirus mutation from the delta variant, delta plus or AY.1 has arisen. However, there is no immediate concern since the disease incidence of the mutant is low in India.

What is Delta Plus?

The new variant is the mutation of the Delta variant or B.1.617.2. The delta variant is one of the major drivers of the second wave of the pandemic in India. According to reports, Delta plus is resistant against the monoclonal cocktail of antibodies.

“One of the emerging variants is B.1.617.2.1 also known as AY.1., characterized by the acquisition of K417N mutation,” tweeted Vinod Scaria. Scaria is a scientist and clinician at the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) Delhi. “[The mutation] is in the spike protein of SARS-COV-2, which helps the virus enter and infect the human cells,” he added.

In addition, according to reports from Public Health England, 63 Delta genomes were present with the K417N mutation. These reports coincide with the genome analysis from GISAID, a global science initiative.

How will the new mutation affect India?

At this point in time, the variant frequency of K417N is not high in India. However, they are common in America, Europe, and other Asian countries. It was first found in Europe in March 2021. Additionally, travel restrictions will aid in slowing its spread.

The Delta plus variant shows some resistance to Casirivimab and Imdevimab, monoclonal antibodies. The cocktail is safe for emergency use as per authorization in India from the Central Drugs Standard Control. The monoclonal antibodies are specifically designed against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Hence, it can block the entry and attachment of the virus to human cells. Manufactured by Cipla and Roche India, the cocktail concoction costs Rs. 59,750 per dose.