What is the Delta Plus variant of the coronavirus

It has the characteristics of the Delta and in addition a mutation of its own beta (the South African variant). It could be more contagious, lethal and resistant to monoclonal antibodies, but these are still hypotheses to be confirmed. What we know and in which countries it has already been tracked

(foto: Pete Linforth via Pixabay)

There is not only the variant delta. A new one has recently been identified shape mutated of the Delta, named for it Delta Plus, in abbreviation AY.1. This turns out to bind more easily to lung cells and also be more contagious than the delta. First discovered in India in April 2021, this variant has been detected in this country in a few dozen cases but is also present in others 9 countries, according to reports from a article of the BBC, including the UK and the United States.

Delta Plus, the situation today

The Delta Plus – identified in India in April – was reported for the first time in a bulletin of Public Health England dell’June 11th. Currently it was registered in India in about 40 samples in six districts afferent to three states – Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. The most affected state for now is Maharashtra, with at least 16 cases. If the delta variant is present in at least 80 countries around the world, the delta plus is already in 9 countries, which are: United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, Russia and China.

What do we know about the variant Delta Plus

It is a subtype of the Delta variant, which has acquired a mutation – call K417N – the coronavirus spike protein present in the beta variant (perhaps better known as South African). The Indian Ministry of Health explained that the variant Delta Plus could spread more easily, sneak more easily into the lungs and could resist therapy with monoclonal antibodies. The hypothesis of the scientists is that the characteristics of the delta, combined with the mutation of the beta, can make it more transmissible. “The K417N mutation fell into the category of variants of interest since it is present in the beta variant, writes the Indian Ministry of Health in a note reported by Reuters, “which has been shown to have the ability to evade the immune response”.

variant of interest O that worries?

For some time, the World Health Organization and other international bodies have adopted a new one classification the danger of the new variants of Sars-Cov-2, which provides for three criteria or levels. There are the so-called variants of interest, those that cause concern and those with significant consequences. In general, any new variant, to be included in this group, would have to be more contagious or dangerous than the previous ones. From the above description it would appear that Delta Plus fall within the variants that worry. However, some scientists indicate that we still have little data to say this.“There is not yet enough data to support the request for the inclusion of the variant among those of concern”, states in the article on Bbc Gagandeep Kang, virologist and first Indian woman to be elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.“You need to have biological and clinical information to consider that a variant can really belong to this category”. In short, we will have to wait a while to understand the real impact, in terms of contagiousness and damage to health, of this new variant.

A recap on the Delta variant

On the Delta variant, instead, we have some more information, since – unfortunately – it is already more widespread. Initially called Indian, this is more contagious and could be associated with more severe forms of Covid-19 ea a time course different with respect to the appearance of symptoms and the development of the disease. In the UK this form is prevalent and affects the vast majority of cases. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (Ecdc) estimates that by the end of the summer this variant it will affect 90% of infections in Europe, and in Italy its diffusion is equal to 9% (according to the data of the Ceinge-Biotechnology center of 16 June).

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