Thu, 05 Aug 2021

New Delhi [India], June 22 (ANI): Union Health Ministry on Tuesday advised Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh on the presence of the Delta Plus mutation of the Covid-19 virus, that has been pegged as 'variant of concern' (VOC), in certain districts of these states.

Union Health Secretary has communicated to these three states this variant has been found in genome sequenced samples from Ratnagiri and Jalgaon Districts of Maharashtra; Palakkad and Pathanamthitta Districts of Kerala and Bhopal and Shivpuri Districts of Madhya Pradesh.

The Union Health Ministry has advised the three states that the Public Health Response measures, while broadly remaining the same as have been implemented by them earlier, have to become more focused and effective.

The States Chief Secretaries have been advised to take up immediate containment measures in the districts and clusters (as identified by INSACOG) including preventing crowds and intermingling of people, widespread testing, prompt tracing as well as vaccine coverage on a priority basis.

They were also advised to ensure that adequate samples of positive persons are promptly sent to the designated laboratories of INSACOG so that clinical epidemiological correlations can be made for further guidance to be provided to States.

Based on the recent findings of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG), the Union Health Ministry has alerted the states on the Delta Plus variant.

The central government has been proactively working towards effective COVID-19 management by the sustained strengthening of multi-level health and testing infrastructure, and through focussed Public Health Measures in active collaboration with the States.

Union Health Ministry has from time to time alerted the State Governments on critical points in the trajectory of COVID-19 for implementing an effective Public Health Response under a "whole of government" approach.

INSACOG is a consortium of 28 laboratories of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Biotechnology, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for whole genome sequencing in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

INSACOG is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also for giving timely inputs on appropriate Public Health Response measures to be adopted by States and UTs. INSACOG has informed that the Delta Plus Variant, currently a Variant of Concern (VOC), has the following characteristics: Increased transmissibility; Stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and Potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response. (ANI)

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