Indian officials have named a new Covid variant Delta plus, making it an offshoot of the UK’s most dominant strain. They have also dubbed it a “variant of concern”, outlining the potential risks attached to its circulation. The national health ministry has also outlined a selection of mutations that could make it as slippery as its relative.
What are the symptoms of Delta plus?
Indian authorities have identified genetic traces of the variant, otherwise known as AY.1, in roughly 40 samples from three states.
And 16 of these samples came from Maharashtra, which is in the midst of one of India’s most severe outbreaks.
Some cases have also trickled into England, with 41 sequenced so far.
Scientists aren’t yet sure whether Delta plus has developed distinct mutations.
Dr Jeremy Kamil, a virologist at Louisiana State University, told the BBC Delta plus may have a “slight” infectivity advantage.
But this enhancement gives it an edge in spreading “between people who were previously infected earlier during the pandemic” or with “weak or incomplete vaccine immunity”.
Dr Kamil added he didn’t believe there was enough data to distinguish it as “more dangerous or concerning” than Delta.