Although in the minority in the tests sequenced in France, the Delta Plus variant, resulting from a mutation of the Delta variant, is under surveillance because of its possible increased resistance to antibodies.
Identified in India, the variant Delta circulates more and more France and could represent, according to scientists, a threat of fourth wave. With 40% more contagiousness than the Alpha strain of Covid-19, the latter should become predominant in Europe by the end of August, estimates the WHO. To this threat is now added a new mutation: the Delta Plus variant.
Also appeared in Inde, the Delta Plus quickly came under increased surveillance by local authorities, already in the grip of a major epidemic. If the new mutation was detected only in 48 people contaminated by the Delta variant, out of more than 45,000 samples examined, the Indian health authorities do not fear less of a new epidemic resurgence, reports France Info.
A “worrying” variant …
Class “worrying“in India since June 22, the country’s health ministry said in a statement that the Delta Plus variant would be more transmissible, that it would have a greater capacity to cling to lung cells and that it would be more resistant to monoclonal antibodies.
“This new mutation has a stronger immune escape capacity” indicates Mircea Sofonea, lecturer in epidemiology and evolution of infectious diseases at the University of Montpellier on France Culture. However, he acknowledges that the studies underway lack perspective. “We are only on guesses, everything comes from a press release from the Indian Ministry of Health,” recalls the researcher.
Clearly, the mutation of the Delta Plus variant, called AY1 by epidemiologists, would allow the virus tomore easily escape the antibodies generated by the vaccine or after contamination with Covid-19.
Similar to the one spotted on the Beta variant (ex-South African) at the end of 2020, this new mutation could thus make certain vaccines less effective. Studies are already underway to determine whether or not the Delta Plus variant is more resistant to circulating vaccines.
… which is already circulating in Europe
In Europe, it is the Portugal which detected the most Delta Plus variants. The report from the National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), thus reveals that among the 766 cases confirmed with the genetic sequencing of the Delta variant, 46 cases of the “Delta Plus” variant were detected, reports RTL.
The country would thus exceed the number of variants detected in the UK which had around thirty during a previous sequencing. In total, according to RTL, nearly 350 cases of this variant have been reported worldwide.
WHO currently classifies this variant as “variant of interest” because of his low traffic rate because it represents “only a small fraction of the Delta sequences” indicates the organization.
In France, a June 30 report from Public Health France indicates the “sporadic” presence of the variant in the territory. According to figures from the Gisaid database, 8 cases of the Delta Plus variant, out of 53,000 sequencing, have been identified.