Need more data on ‘Delta Plus’ variant to gauge its seriousness: AIIMS chief Randeep Guleria

The Centre has requested Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala to take up immediate containment measures after cases of Delta Plus variant were reported in these states.

 AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria has said India needs more data on the Delta Plus variant to gauge its seriousness.

This statement from the AIIMS chief came after the Union government called Delta Plus a ‘Variant of Concern’.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has also said that the highly transmissible strain of COVID-19 is expected to become a “dominant lineage” if current trends continue.

Guleria said that the virus mutates regularly, but that does not necessarily mean that a new variant is always more infectious.

We must not let our guard down: AIIMS chief 

We must not let our guard down, said the AIIMS director and added that India needs to learn from the second wave, which wreaked havoc across the nation.

An IIT Kanpur study has said the third wave peak of COVID-19 could be around September-October this year.

Speaking on the IIT Kanpur data, Guleria called it important. It shows we can prevent or delay the third wave and decrease its intensity by following good COVID-19 appropriate behaviour, not allowing super-spreader events and aggressive surveillance.

Areas seeing a surge in Delta Plus variant cases must be put under mini lockdown, said the AIIMS chief and urged people to get vaccinated in large numbers.

‘We seem to be inviting the third wave rather than trying to delay it’

On people flouting social distancing norms, Guleria said that “we seem to be inviting the third wave rather than trying to delay it.”

INSACOG, a consortium of 28 laboratories of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has said that the new variant has increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.

So far, India has reported around 40 cases of the Delta plus variant in Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

The variant has been reported in 85 countries and continues to be detected in more places around the globe.


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