December 10, 2023

Delta Plus Mutation

Syllabus- General Studies 3(science and technology)

Bilateral, Regional and Global groupings and agreements involving India and affecting

India’s interests.



Recently in India around 40 cases of the Delta coronavirus variant carrying a mutation that appears to make it more transmissible have been found, and states are advised to increase testing.

What is Delta Plus?

  • The variant, called “Delta Plus” in India, was first reported in a Public Health England bulletin on June 11.
  • It is a sub-lineage of the Delta variantfirst detected in India and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.
  • Some scientists worry that the mutation, coupled with other existing features of the Delta variant, could make it more transmissible.
  • “The mutation K417N has been of interest as it is present in the Beta variant (B.1.351 lineage), which was reported to have immune evasion property,” India’s health ministry said in a statement.
  • The K417N was known to reduce the effectiveness of a cocktail of therapeutic monoclonal antibodies.

Spread of the variant

  • As of June 16, at least 197 cases had been found from 11 countries — Britain (36), Canada (1), India (8), Japan (15), Nepal (3), Poland (9), Portugal (22), Russia (1), Switzerland (18), Turkey (1), the United States (83).
  • Britain said its first 5 cases were sequenced on April 26 and they were contacts of individuals who had travelled from, or transited through, Nepal and Turkey.
  • No deaths were reported among the UK and Indian cases.


  • Studies are ongoing in India and globally to test the effectiveness of vaccines against this mutation.
  • WHO is tracking this variant as part of the Delta variant.
  • WHO says that this variant does not seem to be common, and currently accounts for only a small fraction of the Delta sequences.
  • But India’s health ministry warned that regions where it has been found “may need to enhance their public health response by focusing on surveillance, enhanced testing, quick contact-tracing and priority vaccination.”

There are worries Delta Plus would inflict another wave of infections on India after it emerged from the world’s worst surge in cases only recently.

Question- Write a short note on delta plus variant of Covid.


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