Some 22 cases of the Delta Plus variant have been found in India, informed the government on Tuesday. 

The Delta Plus variant has been formed due to a mutation of the Delta strain or B.1.617.2 variant, which was first found in India and was believed to be the reason for the deadly second wave in the country.

Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan in a media conference said: “22 cases of Delta Plus variant have been found in Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh in the country. It has been kept in Variant of interest category.”

“Based on the recent findings of INSACOG (Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia), the Health Ministry has alerted and advised Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh regarding the Delta Plus variant of COVID19 found in these States,” said a statement by the Health Ministry.

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

The consortium is tasked with not just the whole genome sequencing but also with giving timely inputs on appropriate public health response measures to be adopted by states and union territories.

Delta Plus variants are currently found in nine countries including the UK, the US, Japan, Russia, India, Portugal, Switzerland, Nepal, and China, the Indian Health Ministry said.

Health experts in India have warned that the Delta Plus may trigger a third wave of COVID-19 in the country.

Meanwhile, India’s new COVID-19 cases dropped below 50,000 in 91 days on Tuesday. The country recorded 42,640 new infections, while the death toll climbed to 389,302 with 1,167 fresh fatalities.

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