Super transmissible Delta variant primary cause of India’s second wave: Expert panel
New Delhi, June 04: Highly infectious Delta variant of COVID-19, or the B1.617.2, was the primary cause behind the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in India, an expert panel has found.
A new study conducted by National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) and INSACOG (the consortium of labs undertaking genome sequencing in India) stated that the B.1.617 variant and its lineage B.1.617.2 were primarily responsible for the surge in cases. The study also said that the new variant has 50 per cent more transmissibility than the Alpha or B.1.1.7 variant.
As per the study, genomic sequencing revealed more than 12,200 variants of concern in the country but their presence is miniscule compared to the Delta variant, which replaced all other variants in the second wave.
The study also revelead that the Delta variant that led to several infections even among vaccinated individuals. “B.1.617.2 was over-represented and B.1.1.7 was not even detected in vaccination breakthroughs, suggesting higher breakthrough risk of B.1.617.2 compared to B.1.1.7.”
The Delta variant is found in all states, but more visible in states like Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana, which were the worst hit in the second surge.
The B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.2 variants of the COVID-19, first identified in India, has been named as ‘Kappa’ and ‘Delta’ respectively, the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced as it named various variants of the coronavirus using Greek alphabets.
An expert group convened by WHO has recommended labeling using letters of the Greek Alphabet, i.e., Alpha, Beta, Gamma, which will be easier and more practical to discuss by non-scientific audiences, the UN health agency said in a statement.