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Know Everything About The New AY. 4.2 Subvariant Of Delta Coronavirus Strain

New cases of AY. 4.2 subvariant of Delta Coronavirus strain are spreading in the country. Read on to know more about it.

Written by: Navya KharbandaPublished at: Oct 31,2021
Updated at: Dec 08,2021

In the United Kingdom, there is a lot of sequencing of persons who test positive because there is a crisis scenario where a huge number of patients are testing positive. They discovered a new genomic sequence of the covid virus called Delta plus due to that sequencing. We're not sure if it's been officially designated a variant of concern yet, but it's a new variant that's surfaced. Variants do appear when it comes to the variant. We expect different COVID-19 variants to emerge, but whether this variant becomes a cause for concern, that is, whether it is a variant that has the potential to cause a pandemic, or whether it is a variant that is likely to break people who have already been vaccinated and have a good immune response to COVID-19, is something we need to know. 

Regrettably, only time will tell if it becomes inducive enough to cause actual alarm. In India, we aren't seeing nearly as much genetic sequencing of every positive case that comes in. The experts are working on a certain referral lot, and the numbers are increasing. Still, there is no official data on how many patients have been diagnosed with a new variant or whether another variant is extremely rare. Onlymyhealth editorial team spoke to Dr. Pruthu Narendra Dhekane, consultant - infectious diseases, Fortis Hospital Bannerghatta Road, about the AY. 4.2 variant of Covid-19. 

1. How is this variant different from the other Covid variants in India?

Nonetheless, even if this mutation is present in India and we can determine if it would result in a new wave of new cases, I am not convinced. We'll have to wait and see how well it works out. There is no conclusive proof or data on whether Covidshield or Covaxin is effective or unsuccessful in viral protection. More concrete data needs to be supplied. In scientific words, a variation occurs when the virus's genetic structure changes. So we want to know if this alteration in the virus's genetic makeup is creating something that the virus couldn't accomplish before. 

It is hypothesized that this Delta plus variation could infiltrate the immunological response it has elicited due to vaccination. This is a problem since this virus possesses features that have rendered certain vaccinations ineffective, and it is likely to infiltrate the vaccine-induced immune response. Then it's expected to produce another spike in the number of cases since, as we all know, the lockdown has primarily been lifted, and even schools are reopening. As a result, social distancing or disguising is no longer used, and everyone has resumed their social lives. But, if a new variety emerges that is likely to cause problems, we are likely to witness another rise in instances. That is how this virus differs, and it is for this reason, we must be cautious in the coming days.

Also read: New Covid Variant Delta Plus Identified; Severity Not Known Yet

3. Should people be concerned about this new variant compared to all the others?

People should be concerned about COVID-19, not the variants, in my opinion. Everyone should be on the lookout for COVID-19 until at least the end of next year. Whatever occurs, even if the variety does not alter or let, we must adhere to social conventions until the end of next year. This also means that everyone should use universal masking, keep a safe physical distance, wash their hands frequently, and be vaccinated. 

Whether or not a COVID-19 variation changes, these preventative strategies will keep COVID-19 variants from occurring or altering. People who were properly vaccinated in February-March or April-May and are now afflicted by COVID-19 are being reported to us. These individuals are primarily affected by novel COVID-19 mutations. It's almost as though they're becoming involved because they've stopped taking social measures. COVID-19 is still active. It's merely that as more people are vaccinated and become infected, a herd immunity response develops. 

As a result, the virus is likely to infect you, although you may not experience any symptoms. So no one wants infection, even if it is just mildly severe. I don't believe individuals should be concerned about the arrival of a new variant because if they adhere to societal norms, I don't believe it will affect them even if the new variant arrives. Now that we've learned the hard way from waves 1 and 2, it's time to move on to wave 3. I don't believe we should have a wave 3 when we know there's always the possibility that the variety will appear again. Simply follow societal standards and get vaccinated without thinking about the variant.

4. Are the symptoms any different than the other variants?

According to the reports we have, anybody who has been infected with these variations is currently exhibiting the same symptoms. It's the same symptom we've seen before. We don't have a lot of data yet, and we don't have a lot of patients who have some unusual symptoms. We'll have to keep an eye out for further data and literature in the following days.

5. What kind of threat is it for those who Covid-19 has already infected?

Those who have been afflicted and are surviving should remember to get vaccinated after or before contracting COVID-19. Those people should be less concerned because we have excellent evidence that people with COVID-19, whether mild or severe, have a lower risk of developing cancer. Even if kids only get one shot of the vaccine, their immunity is relatively robust and lasts for a long time. So, if you were fortunate enough to escape COVID-19 infection and received both vaccine doses, you can rest easy compared to those who were not so good. They don't need to take any additional safeguards, in my opinion. Everyone should take the same fundamental procedures and be cautious.

Also read: What Is 'Mu' Variant Of COVID-19 That WHO Declared A Variant Of Interest?

6. What kind of risk does it pose for vaccinated people and those who are not?

We don't know if this new variety can produce a breakthrough infection or symptom in vaccinated persons, triggering an immunological response to the vaccination. We don't know if these variations will produce any symptoms in you. It makes no difference to me whether this version or any other variant exists. People who have been vaccinated are re-infecting themselves with COVID-19. People who have not been vaccinated are at a higher risk of contracting another covid-19 infection if they have not been vaccinated. It doesn't seem to make a difference to me. We don't have enough evidence to say whether the Delta plus variant affects persons who have been vaccinated.

7. How do experts determine which variant of Covid a patient has? 

It must be forwarded to a reference laboratory for analysis. It is not done in all laboratories in our area. The lab's responsibility is to send samples to government-run institutes such as NIV Pune and particular reference laboratories. Unfortunately, not all labs do it, and it will become increasingly important as we collect more data.

All social safeguards must be observed at least until June 2022, the following year. Then we'll learn more about the vaccine, its variations, and how it interacts with other vaccinations and booster shots. The only constant is that you are unlikely to get the virus if you take all of the measures. If hospitals, medical experts, and hospitals are interested in learning more about our variants, I will encourage them to send more samples for genome sequencing.

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