Hyderabad: The descendant of the Delta variant AY.4.2, also known as Delta Plus, which is more transmissible than Delta, has been detected among two Covid positive cases in Hyderabad and seven individuals in Andhra Pradesh. The Delta Plus variant (AY.4.2) is widely regarded as the variant responsible for the recent surge of Covid infections in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom. As a result, it was designated variant under investigation (VUI) in the UK.
The AY.4.2 has a higher rate of household spread, higher death rate, and faster reproduction and appears to be more transmissible than the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2, which was the main SARS-CoV-2 variant behind the Covid second wave. Based on a report from UK Health Security Council, by October 22, India already had 22 cases of Covid infections due to the Delta variant. However, a recent report (i.e. on October 26) from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) indicated that there were 17 such cases of which Andhra Pradesh reported a maximum of seven positive cases, four from Kerala, two each from Telangana and Karnataka and one each from Maharashtra and Jammu and Kashmir.
Senior public health officials in the State have urged people to stick to strict adherence to Covid appropriate behaviour during the next few months. “There are no travel restrictions between countries. We should not be surprised to come across new and more transmissible variants. People should get vaccinated and take precautions till December,” officials said.
The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Sequencing Consortium (INSACOG), which tracks the Covid viral genome across the country, in its recent report had acknowledged the recent rise of AY.4.2 globally. “Public Health England has concluded that there is a modest growth advantage to AY.4.2 in recent surveillance data, but as of now, there is no biological evidence of increased infectivity or severity. The case definition has not been validated on international data but provisionally AY.4.2 is seen mostly in Europe, North America and to a lower extent in Asia National Delta. The researchers from INSACOG have said that ‘Based on the case definition used by Public Health England (PHE), the AY.4.2 is very infrequent (below 0.1%) in India,” the INSACOG in a statement said.
The PHE in its report on AY 4.2 said that the secondary attack rate for household contacts with A.Y 4.2. is 12.4 per cent higher than that observed for other Delta cases. “AY.4.2 appears to have a modestly increased growth rate compared to Delta,” the UK report said.
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