India has declared Delta Plus as a variant of concern on Tuesday after several cases have been detected.
In a BBC report on Tuesday, the health ministry said the Delta Plus variant has been detected in 22 samples from six districts in three states, namely Maharashtra, Kerala, and Madhya Pradesh.
Sixteen of these samples were found in Maharashtra, one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic, it added.
First detected in India in April, Delta Plus variant or AY.1 was reported to be related to the Delta variant.
Studies showed that Delta Plus variant has increased transmissibility, binds more easily to lung cells, and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody response, the ministry said.
The Delta Plus variant has been detected in nine other countries including the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Switzerland, Japan, Poland, Nepal, Russia, and China.
The ministry, meanwhile, has ordered the three states affected to immediately send adequate samples of positive persons to Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG) so that the “clinical epidemiological correlations can be made,” according to a report from the Indian Express.
India on Wednesday has recorded 50,848 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s tally to more than 30 million cases.