While evidence shows that the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) dominated during the second wave of Covid-19 in India, there is a growing concern about the parent variant's most recent mutation, known as the Delta Plus or AY.01.
Experts have said that the Delta Plus variant could evade both vaccine and infection immunity. One of India’s top virologists and former member of the INSACOG, Prof Shahid Jameel fears the variant would be evading both immunities from Covid vaccination as well as immunity generated by earlier infections.
Prof Jameel explained that this is because Delta Plus possesses not only all of the characteristics of the original Delta variant but also a mutation known as K417N, which was discovered in the Beta variant in South Africa.
“It’s well-established that the Beta variant of concern evades vaccines much better than the Alpha variant or even the Delta variant,” he said. This is evidenced by the fact that the South African government had returned a consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines, claiming that it was ineffective against the variant there.