Dr Anurag Agarwal said that cases of Delta Plus variant constitute less than one percent of the cases
Dr Anurag Agarwal said that cases of Delta Plus variant constitute less than one percent of the cases
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New Delhi: Amid worries of a possible third Covid wave, along with the emergence of a Delta Plus variant in parts of the country, one of India's top doctors and genome sequencer has brushed aside concerns of this new mutant fuelling an upsurge in infections. Dr Anurag Agarwal, Director of the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), also advised caution against lowering the guard on the second wave itself.

"At this point, there is no evidence to suggest that Delta Plus...has anything to do with a possible third wave," Dr Agarwal told NDTV.

"My institute has sequenced more than 3,500 samples from Maharashtra in the month of June, covering samples from April and May. We can see that these (Delta Plus variants) are very much there. But these would constitute less than one per cent," he said.

The IGIB, which he heads, is an institution under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

Even in areas where the numbers are high, he said, they are not "very high". "Things look stable," Dr Agarwal assured.

Over 40 cases of the new Delta Plus strain, tagged as a "variant of concern", have been detected till now across the country. The government has sent out a warning to Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh on this front, urging "immediate containment measures".

Dr Agarwal, however, clarified that any Delta remains a variant of concern. "So what I mean when I say that we must not be very concerned is that for any Delta that exists anywhere in India today, we must be concerned about the second wave not ending, before we worry about the third wave," he said.

"But I certainly do not see any reason right now for people to panic regarding Delta Plus being significantly worse than Delta or creating a major third wave...There is absolutely no evidence for that."

The World Health Organisation has introduced a classification as VOC (variant of concern) and VOI (variant of interest), with the evolution of several variants around the globe. Delta variant as well as all Delta sub-lineages including Delta Plus are classified as VOC, the statement said.

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