The SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus mutates faster than imagined. The Delta variant has just appeared, now it has mutated again into ‘Delta Plus’ aka AY.1. What’s the difference?
As is known, viruses in general always mutate to defend themselves. Scientists are scrambling to find ways to destroy them before more mutations occur, which makes the virus even more difficult to fight off.
This principle also applies to the Corona virus, especially SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19. The latest mutation that makes up the ‘Delta Plus’ variant is admitted by experts to be quite surprising, because it occurs faster than expected.
Some facts about the Delta Plus or AY.1 variant that need to be known so far are as follows, quoted from DNA India.
- The Delta Plus variant is a new form of the Delta variant or B1617.2 which was first identified in India. The Delta Plus variant has the official name AY.1 or B1617.2.1.
- There is no indication that these new variants and mutations trigger more severe symptoms.
- The Delta Plus or AY.1 variants are immune to monoclonal antibody therapy.
- Because the cases are still few, this variant has not been categorized as a Variant of Concern (VoC).
- One of the mutations in the Delta Plus or AY.1 variant is K417N.
- The K417N mutation occurs in the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein which makes it easier for it to enter and infect human cells.
- So far there are 63 genomes of the Delta variant or B1617.2 with the new mutation K417N registered with the GSAID.
- The Delta Plus variant was discovered in 6 genomes from India on 7 June 2021.
India has reported a new “Delta plus” coronavirus variant of concern, officials have said.
Sixteen cases of the variant, a mutation of B.1.617.2, were found in the state of Maharashtra on Tuesday, federal health secretary Rajesh Bhushan told a news conference.
Delta plus is thought to be more transmissible than the original Delta variant, according to state officials who are increasing testing and local vaccination drives.
Public Health England has said the Delta variant is up to 60% more contagious than the Alpha (Kent) one that emerged in December last year.
Currently in the UK, Delta makes up more than 99% of reported COVID-19 cases.
A Nepalese mutation of the Delta variant was reported to be behind Portugal being moved from the green to amber travel lists last month.
Experts have repeatedly said that the virus will mutate constantly over time, with some variants posing a risk, as they could escape the immune system.