New Mutation Of COVID Delta Variant ; UK PM Says Spread A ‘Cause Of Serious Concern’

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Saturday expressed “serious concern” about rising infections of the Delta variant of coronavirus, suggesting that he is set to delay lifting England’s last remaining lockdown curbs, reported Sky News.

In an interview to the news channel, Johnson said it was clear that the Delta variant was more transmissible.

According to a report published by Public Health England, an executive agency of the UK government’s health and social care department, available data indicates that over 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the UK are now the Delta variant, which continues to show a significantly higher rate of growth compared to the Alpha variant.

The highly infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus has mutated into a version called AY.1 or Delta+, that could possibly be resistant to monoclonal antibodies cocktail used in COVID-19 treatment, The Times of India has reported.

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) of SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in India in October 2020.

PHE said India has reported six cases of Delta-AY.1 as of June 7. Delta-AY.1 has acquired the spike protein mutation K417N, the report said citing information from GISAID.

“As of 7 June 2021, 63 genomes of Delta with K417N have been identified on GISAID. from Canada (1) Germany (1), Russia (1), Nepal (2), Switzerland (4), India (6), Poland (9), Portugal (12), Japan (13), USA (14),” PHE said on June 11 in its updated document on coronavirus variants.

The document further added that there are currently 36 cases of Delta-AY.1 in England.

Dr. Vinod Scaria, clinician and computational biologist at Delhi’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology on Sunday in a Twitter thread gave some insight into the emerging lineages of Delta variant of the coronavirus. He said that among the emerging variants, Delta+ (B.1.617.2.1) was characterized by the acquisition of the K417N mutation that maps to the receptor-binding domain and has also been associated with immune escape.

“The variant frequency for K417N is not much in India. As Delta continues to evolve, acquiring new mutations, there is a lot of interest in understanding these mutations,” he wrote, naming the new mutant Delta+.

 

The World Health Organization (WHO), has categorized ‘Delta’ as a variant of concern (VOC). It has said it continues to observe “significantly increased transmissibility” and a “growing number of countries reporting outbreaks associated with this variant”.

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