India has said that the new coronavirus variant Delta plus is a “variant of concern” after cases were detected in at least three states.
Experts worry that Delta plus can potentially trigger a third wave and it could come earlier than predicted, according to NDTV.
Delta plus is a further mutation in the already “more transmissible” Delta variant, which was first identified in India and was behind the surge in cases during the country’s second wave of the pandemic.
Early data showed that this new lineage includes the K417N mutation — first found in the Beta variant that emerged in South Africa.
The Indian government said it has detected Delta plus in 22 samples in the country, and one of the characterises of this variant is increased transmissibility.
The health ministry said the variant has been found in samples from three states — Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. The government has advised these states to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters where the variant has been found.
Officials had just last week claimed that Delta plus was a variant of interest.
The state of Maharashtra has reported 16 cases of the new variant.
The health ministry said the Delta plus variant has been found in nine other countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Portugal and Switzerland.