Delta plus variant - also known as AY.1 (下稱為Delta+)
India's health ministry says studies showed that the so-called Delta plus
variant - also known as AY.1 - spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung
cells and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy, a potent
intravenous infusion of antibodies to neutralise the virus.
The variant is related to the Delta, an existing variant of concern, which
was first identified in India last year and is thought to have driven the
deadly second wave of infections this summer in India.
The health ministry says the Delta plus variant, first found in India in
April, has been detected in around 40 samples from six districts in three
states - Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. At least 16 of these samples
were found in Maharashtra, one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic.
Delta plus has also been found in nine other countries - USA, UK, Portugal,
Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, Russia and China - compared to the
original highly contagious Delta strain, which has now spread to 80 countries.
A consortium of Indian labs involved in genome sequencing to identify and
track the spread of various coronavirus variants told the government that
Delta Plus appears to have three worrying characteristics: Increased
transmissibility; more capacity to attack lung cells; and a potential
reduction in monoclonal antibody response — or, put simply, possible
resistance to vaccines and immunity gained through previous infection.
“Studies show these variants are more infectious and affect people of all
age groups,” reads the statement.