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Dr VK Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog said that the newly discovered Delta Plus Variant is not yet designated as a Variant of Concern, in the context of the public debate about novel variant detection.
Paul while addressing the COVID-19 Media Briefing at National Media Centre, said, "The present status is that yes, a new variant has been found. This is as of now a Variant of Interest (VoI), not as yet classified as a Variant of Concern (VoC). VoC is one in which we have understood that there are adverse consequences to humanity, which could be due to increased transmissibility or virulence. We do not know at this moment this about the Delta Plus variant."
According to Dr. Paul, the best course of action is to keep an eye out for its possible arrival in the country and respond appropriately. He noted, "We need to watch the effect of this change, this variant in a scientific manner; this has been found outside our country. We need to monitor it through The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) in order to assess and detect its potential presence and growth in our country. This is the way forward in relation to the virus."
Paul also emphasized that this will be a key topic of future research for our nearly 28-laboratory setup. The system will keep a close eye on this and analyze its relevance. Paul added, "This is something that science should and will watch and understand."
This variety, according to the NITI Aayog member, serves as a reminder of the need for infection management and containment procedures and behaviour. He briefed, "Remember that there is no way that we can shoot these variants away, to use any precision weapon to ensure that they don't appear in future. What we need to do is to monitor, understand their behaviour and mount an appropriate response, being conscious of their effects on us. The appropriate response includes the same principles, namely containment measures and COVID appropriate behaviour."
He stressed the significance of treating the fundamental problem and interrupting the transmission chain. "One of the important tools to tackle any new variant is by following COVID Appropriate Behaviour. The root cause is the chain of transmission. So, if we are able to address the root cause and break the chains of transmission, we will be able to contain the spread, whichever the variant may be, stated Dr Paul.
Dr Paul explained the origins of the Delta Plus variation, "During the second wave, Delta variant - B.1.617.2 exhibited its effect; its higher transmissibility played a major role in making the wave intense. Along the same line, an additional mutation has been detected, which has also been submitted to the Global Data System. This has been referred to as the 'Delta Plus' or 'AY.1' variant. The variant was observed in Europe in March and has been notified and brought into the public domain on June 13, just two days ago."
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