A total of 20 cases of the new Sars-CoV-2 variant AY.1, also dubbed the Delta-plus, have been found in samples collected from at least four districts of Maharashtra — Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Palghar and Jalgaon. More samples have been sent for genome sequencing to understand whether the new variant is dominant or scattered, state government officials said.
The Delta-plus, formed by mutation in the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant, is currently a “variant of interest”, and hasn’t been classified as a “variant of concern” by the Union health ministry yet.
In April, the state government signed an MoU with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) to sequence 100 Covid positive samples each from 36 districts per month.
Genome sequencing is an exercise to study changes in the structure of the virus over time.
State health minister Rajesh Tope while confirmed receiving a genome sequencing report from CSIR-IGIB, refused to discuss the matter till Monday. “CSIR-IGIB has prepared a report based on samples collected of Covid positive patients from all districts of the state… The contents of the report will be discussed in a meeting to be held on Monday and inferences will be drawn…,” he said.