Health Ministry alerts Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on Delta Plus variant of COVID-19
New Delhi, June 22, 2021
The Union Health Ministry has alerted and advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh about the Delta Plus variant of COVID-19 that has been found in some districts in the three States.
The Ministry has told the States that the Public Health Response measures, while broadly remaining the same as have been implemented by them earlier, have to become more focused and effective.
The alert has been issued on the basis of the recent findings of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG).
The Union Health Secretary has said in his communication to the three States that the variant had been found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad and Pathanamthitta districts of Kerala; and Bhopal and Shivpuri districts of Madhya Pradesh.
INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for whole genome sequencing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also for giving timely inputs on appropriate Public Health Response measures to be adopted by States and UTs.
INSACOG has informed that the Delta Plus Variant, currently a Variant of Concern (VOC), has the following characteristics: Increased transmissibility; Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells; and Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response
The Ministry has advised the Chief Secretaries of the States concerned to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters (as identified by INSACOG) including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis.
They were also advised to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be made for further guidance to be provided to States, an official press release added.