After Mysuru, Delta Plus case reported in Bengaluru

Govt. monitoring emergence of new variants: Sudhakar

A day after Karnataka’s first case of Delta Plus variant was reported in Mysuru, another case was detected in Bengaluru on Wednesday.

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said the information had been shared with the Union Health Ministry and the government was carefully monitoring the emergence of new variants. Six more genome labs would be set up in the State.

The Bengaluru patient is an 86-year-old resident of Ashok Nagar, who had symptoms of influenza like illness (ILI). He had got one dose of COVID-19 vaccine when his sample was collected in May and sent to the genome sequencing lab in NIMHANS.

Meanwhile, Health officials in Mysuru are awaiting the results of one more batch of samples sent to NIMHANS for genome sequencing.

Dean and Director of Mysore Medical College and Research Institute (MMC&RI) Nanjaraj said 40 samples had been sent to NIMHANS last month in two batches. While the first batch of 21 samples sent in the first week of May had reported one case of Delta Plus, the results of the second batch of 19 samples sent about a fortnight later are still awaited.

The youth, whose sample had shown Delta Plus variant in genome sequencing, was asymptomatic and did not have to undergo hospitalisation.

Sources clarified that both the persons found to have been infected with Delta Plus in Karnataka did not have any history of foreign travel. The new Delta Plus variant h ad been formed due to a mutation in the highly contagious Delta or B.1.617.2 variant, first identified in India and one of the drivers of the second wave.


On its virulence

V. Ravi, nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, who also heads the State Genomic Surveillance Committee, said there is still no evidence to show if Delta Plus was more virulent and caused a severe form of disease.

“The only difference noted is that Delta Plus is resistant to the monoclonal antibody cocktail treatment for COVID-19 recently authorised in India,” he said.

Asserting that available data did not justify unnecessary concerns being raised over Delta Plus, Dr. Ravi said if the variant was more virulent than the variants detected previously, cases should have surged across districts in Karnataka by now as both the samples were collected in May.

“We should not speculate on the severity and transmissibility of the new variant unless there is more data available. All new mutations replace the previous mutation and Delta Plus too may turn out to be a variant that can replace Delta,” he explained.

So far, a total of 40 cases of Delta Plus variant had been detected in the country.

Most of the infections have been reported from Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. On Tuesday, Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan wrote to chief secretaries of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Kerala asking them to take up immediate containment measures.

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Sagar Biswas

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