COVID-19 Delta Plus Variant in India: What You Need to Know

India has classified a new variant of the novel Coronavirus aka Covid-19, the Delta Plus variant, which was first identified in Europe and is now a variant of concern in 11 other countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Also known as AY.1, the Delta plus variant is way more contagious than the previous COVID variants and known to be potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy. 

What is the Delta Plus Variant?

Delta plus variant is the new mutated version or the sub-lineage of the Delta variant that was the reason behind the horrifying second wave of COVID-19 in India when the daily cases spiked up to 400,000 in May 2021. It is the result of the spiked protein content in the Delta variant. The Indian Ministry of Health released a statement alerting the people of the country about the spread of the COVID-19’s Delta Plus variant, citing these three characteristics of concern.

1.    Increased transmissibility 
2.    Easier entry into human cells
3.    Stronger binding to the receptors of lung cells
4.    Potential reduction in response to the monoclonal antibodies

How Was It Identified in India?

The Delta Plus variant of Coronavirus was found during routine screening of viral RNA sequences uploaded to GISAID, a data-sharing platform set up to share flu-viral sequences. This indicated how critical the ongoing surveillance is.

The strain has been found in 49 samples across 12 states in India with Maharashtra having the highest number of infected patients.


What are The Symptoms of Delta Plus Variant?

The Delta Plus variant symptoms are similar to the mild symptoms of Coronavirus. As per the research conducted by the virologists in India, the common symptoms of COVID-19’s Delta Plus variant include, 

●    Cough
●    Fever
●    Headache
●    Skin Rash
●    Chest pain
●    Diarrhoea
●    Shortness of breath 
●    Discolouration of fingers and toes

Other less common symptoms include,

●    Nausea
●    Stomach ache
●    Loss of appetite

Are Vaccines Effective Against Delta Plus Variant?

At present, there is insufficient evidence on the vaccine effectiveness against the coronavirus’s Delta Plus variant. Moreover, no such cases have been reported where the variant severely infected the vaccinated individuals. 
Further, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has isolated the variant to test vaccine effectiveness. As per their report, more samples and evidence are required from people infected with the Delta Plus variant to examine the characteristics and its resistance against the vaccine. 


Tips to Prevent The Spread of Delta Plus Variant

Given the variant is super infectious and more transmissible in comparison to the other variants of the novel COVID-19, ICMR advises the people of the country to follow the safety guidelines issued by the Government of India like wearing masks and maintaining social distance. Furthermore, the medical practitioners involved in the research and treatment of infected patients suggest the following to keep the infection at bay.

1.    Clean your hands often

It is important to wash your hands at all times and especially when coming from outside. Medical experts suggest washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, one can use hand sanitiser or iodine-based protective solutions as a substitute. Cleaning your hands often helps to reduce the risk of infection. 

2.    Avoid touching your face

As per WHO’s report, the novel coronavirus and all its variants can enter the body through eyes, ears, mouth and nose. Hence, medical experts advise not to touch your face with unwashed or unsanitized hands, especially when outside. This will reduce the risk of infection and also prevent the spread of the virus. 


3.    Disinfect frequently touched surfaces

Surfaces like tables, doorknobs, lifts, car handles, metro seats, sinks, faucets, etc. are potentially contaminated surfaces as per the WHO. Hence, it is advised to regularly disinfect the surfaces inside your house. Further, sanitize or avoid touching any of these surfaces in public places to reduce the risk of infection due to coronavirus disease.


4.    Practice good respiratory hygiene

Things like wearing a mask in public places and covering your mouth with paper tissue while sneezing or coughing can help reduce the spread of infection. Remember to dispose of the used tissue and mask in the dustbin and wash hands before touching anything else. 

Maintaining a Healthy Diet During COVID-19 Pandemic

Besides following the safety guidelines, healthy eating habits can also help you to keep the infection from the Delta Plus variant as well as other COVID-19 variants at bay. Here is what you need to do.

1.    Eat fresh

Prefer eating fresh and unprocessed home-cooked meals to stay healthy and prevent the risk of infection. Besides the potential health benefits, one stays mindful of hygiene while cooking at home, which can be a major cause of concern in the case of processed foods and take-aways. Additionally, including fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains and dairy products in your daily diet can help maintain your overall health, boost your immunity and keep the infection at bay.


2.    Stay hydrated 

Staying hydrated is very important for the body, especially in the case of elderly people as their body dehydrates quickly. The water in your body helps to transport nutrients, regulate your body temperature, helps get rid of toxins, lubricates and cushions joints and much more. Besides water, one can take other forms of fluids like fresh fruit juices to meet the body’s fluid requirements and stay healthy. 


3.    Take Immunity Boosters

As one of the precautions against the Delta Plus variant along with other COVID-19 variants, doctors suggest taking supplements and immunity-boosting foods. These include, but are not limited to low carb foods, alkaline foods, omega 3 & 6 rich fatty acids among others. Including them in your daily diet will help strengthen the body’s ability to fight the virus as well as reduce the risk of infection. 


Take Away

The newly identified Delta Plus variant of coronavirus is gradually spreading in different parts of the country. Given that this variant is more infectious and transmissible than the previous variants, medical experts suggest strictly following the safety guidelines, eating healthy and staying at home, especially for elderly people as they are easily prone to the infection. These are the only ways to prevent the spread of the virus, at present. Further, get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure a higher degree of protection. 

Get in touch with Emoha for guidance on how to take care of your elders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Further, you can also take assistance from their elderly health care services and let their experts take the charge. At Emoha, we understand what our elders want because, for us, it is always #EldersFirst.