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Union Health Ministry Alerts 8 States as cases of Delta Plus ‘Variant of Concern ‘ Surges in the Country

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Following the gradual increase in the cases related to the new mutated Delta Plus variant, the Union Health Ministry on Friday requested eight states and union territories to immediately start taking containment measures such as preventing larger crowds, increasing testing as well as increasing vaccine coverage on a priority basis in districts where the Delta Plus variant has been detected. 

The eight states and Union Territories received the letter from Rajesh Bhushan, Union Health Secretary to contain the spread of the new Delta plus variant. These states and Union Territory are Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Punjab, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, J&K, and Gujarat.

Rajesh Bhusan in his letter to the state government urged them to ensure that sufficient samples of people who test positive for COVID-19 are instantaneously sent to the designated laboratories of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG). INSACOG works as a consortium of 10 national laboratories for genome sequencing located in Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. INSACOG will research and study so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be established.

He wrote that INSACOG is a consortium of laboratories for whole-genome sequencing in the context of the Coronavirus pandemic. INSACOG is also tasked to give timely inputs on appropriate public health responses in the specific regions where variants have been found.

Earlier Government officials have said that the Delta Plus variant is a variant of concern (VOC). According to INSACOG Delta Plus shows increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. 

The presence of Delta mutant, the major cause of the second wave in India has shaken the country, the medical and healthcare system nearly collapsed. The economy didn’t grow because of the lockdown. Now, when states are slowly easing the lockdown rules, new cases of Delta Plus has put up a new challenge against the state government as well as the Central government. 

Bhushan emphasized focused and stringent public health response in this case. The Centre informed that 51 cases of the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus have been found in 45,000 samples sequenced. Maharashtra reported the maximum number of such cases. It is stressed that there are still a very limited number of cases but the upward trend of Delta Plus can be catastrophic. Therefore, states should work to contain the spread of this variant. 

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