Coronavirus: Delta Plus variant may spread more easily, UK experts warn
London, October 23: Health experts in the United Kingdom fear that a new form of the Delta coronavirus- the mutated Delta Plus- may spread more easily than the regular variant.
According to a BBC report, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has placed the new variant in its "variant under investigation" category, to study the possible risk associated with it.
However, the country is yet to find evidence that matches the claim. It also said that UK scientists are confident that vaccines currently in use should be able to deal with the new variant.
The report said: "Although regular Delta still accounts for most Covid infections in the UK, cases of 'Delta Plus' or AY.4.2 have been increasing."
"Latest official data suggests 6% of Covid cases are of this type," it reported.
"Experts say it is unlikely to take off in a big way or escape current vaccines. But officials say there is some early evidence that it may have an increased growth rate in the UK compared to Delta," the report added.
The UKHSA has said, "This sub-lineage has become increasingly common in the UK in recent months, and there is some early evidence that it may have an increased growth rate in the UK compared to Delta."
The Delta Plus, unlike the regular variant, is not yet placed in the list of "variant of concern" - the highest category assigned to variants according to their level of risk.
The BBC reported: "There are thousands of different types - or variants - of Covid circulating across the world. Viruses mutate all the time, so it is not surprising to see new versions emerge. AY.4.2 is an offshoot of Delta that includes some new mutations affecting the spike protein, which the virus uses to penetrate our cells. The mutations - Y145H and A222V - have been found in various other coronavirus lineages since the beginning of the pandemic."
The British news outlet said that the US reported some cases of Delta Plus. Denmark is another country to witness a few cases, but new infections with AY.4.2 have decreased, according to reports.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom is offering booster doses of Covid vaccine to patients ahead of winter, in an attempt to give them the fullest protection against the virus.
The BBC quoted Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of the UKHSA, as saying: "The public health advice is the same for all current variants. Get vaccinated and, for those eligible, come forward for your third or booster dose as appropriate as soon as you are called.
"Continue to exercise caution. Wear a mask in crowded spaces and, when meeting people indoors, open windows and doors to ventilate the room. If you have symptoms, take a PCR test and isolate at home until you receive a negative result."