ICMR, NIV to Study if Vaccines in India Enough to Neutralise Delta Plus Covid Variant


The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV) are set to conduct a study to examine the potency of the ‘Delta Plus’ variant of Covid-19 in patients. This comes after the Union government found Delta Plus cases in Maharashtra (Ratnagiri and Jalgaon) Kerala (Palakkad and Pathanamthitta) and in Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal and Shivpuri).

“The newly emerged Delta Plus variant has possible increased transmissibility, higher binding capacity to the lung cells and resistance to monoclonal antibody treatment. Looking at this scenario, Delta Plus variant could be a concern, and a high watch should be undertaken and containment of affected zone should be done reduce the transmission,” Dr Pragya Yadav, head of the NIV’s Maximum Containment Facility, told the Mint.

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“As per earlier data concerning Delta variant, neutralization was happening with the existing vaccines in India. Though neutralization has dropped, it’s enough to protect against Delta variant. Delta Plus should also behave (in a similar manner). We are working in this direction. We have isolated this variant and we are going to conduct a study soon. We will come back with the Dr Yadav added.

Twenty-one cases of the ‘Delta plus’ variant of Covid-19, considered highly infectious, have been reported in Maharashtra threatening to massively dent the state’s fight against the virus as experts warn that this variant may trigger a third wave of the pandemic in the state.

Kerala, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh, too, have reported cases of this deadlier variety. And even though, only about 200 confirmed infections have been detected across the globe, of which 30 are in India, fears remain that the virus mutant may wreak havoc in the near future.

Union Health Ministry on Tuesday advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on Delta plus variant of Covid-19 after 16 out of 22 cases reported in the country were reported from these states.

Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan at a press briefing had underlined that the Delta plus variant is currently a “variant of interest” and has not yet been classified as a “variant of concern”. Cases of the Delta plus variant have been detected in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri and Jalgaon and parts of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh.

The Centre directed the states to take up immediate containment measures, enhanced testing, tracking and vaccination in districts and clusters where the Delta plus variant was found.

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