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Maharashtra identifies 45 cases of Delta Plus variant, three in Pune district

State health minister Rajesh Tope said cases of Delta Plus variant had increased, but there was no need to worry.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: August 9, 2021 9:46:18 am
Maharashtra covid19, maharashtra delta variant, maharashtra covid cases, Pune covid-19, Pune covid cases, Rajesh tope, Maharashtra health minister, indian express news, indian expressA total of 20 people infected by this variant are in the age group 19 to 45, 14 between the age group of 46 and 60, six children are aged below 18 and five are aged above 60. (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Genomic surveillance by the state health department has identified 45 cases of Covid-19 caused by Delta Plus variant, across Maharashtra, with 13 in Jalgaon and 11 in Ratnagiri districts. Three cases have been detected in Pune, five in Thane and six in Mumbai. Remaining cases have been detected with one each in Sangli, Kolhapur, Sindhudurg, Palghar, Aurangabad, Kolhapur and Beed districts.

Out of the 45 cases, 27 people infected with Delta Plus variant are male while the remaining are female. A total of 20 people infected by this variant are in the age group 19 to 45, 14 between the age group of 46 and 60, six children are aged below 18 and five are aged above 60.

State health minister Rajesh Tope said cases of Delta Plus variant had increased, but there was no need to worry. Tope said immediate measures, such as travel history of the person, vaccination status and focus on contact tracing and testing, were being taken.

“So far, we have information on 34 out of 45 cases infected with Delta Plus variant and, barring one death, most are stable and have a mild form of the disease,” state surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate told The Indian Express.

“At present, it does not seem a worrisome situation as there has not been an increase in the transmission rate,” Dr Awate said.

He said surveillance, however, was critical, and that the Covid positivity rate was still high in some pockets of Pune district. While two cases of Delta Plus variant were from Purandar tehsil and one from Chakan area in Pune district, there was not much transmission of the variant in the immediate locality, he added.

“Even as we relax restrictions and open up, we should be concerned about rural areas in Pune district as there is high positivity in some pockets and, hence, there has to be aggressive testing,” Dr Awate said.

Delta Plus variant, also known as B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1, contains a mutation in the spike protein that the virus uses to enter human cells; it is called K417N. So far, Delta Plus has been found in low numbers. Till August 4, there were 83 cases of the variant in the country.

While initially, to monitor variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus, genomic sequencing was being conducted at Pune’s National Institute of Virology, a centre was soon set up by Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortium in December last year with a network of 28 laboratories.

In Maharashtra, every district sends 100 random samples for genome sequencing as part of a collaboration with CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology with the state government.

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