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India must learn from UK experience on new Delta Plus variant of virus, says AIIMS chief

The AIIMS Delhi Director has warns against the new Delta Plus variant

AIIMS, Delhi chief Dr Randeep Guleria said on Sunday that India needs to learn a lesson from the UK and keep a closer watch on the Delta Plus variant of coronavirus which could emerge as a “variant of concern “

"Delta plus is a variant which is of same lineage as the aggressive Delta variant, with a slight change as there is one more mutation found, which could be a cause of concern because this mutation, the K417N, is something which may change the virus to some extent as far as its infectivity is concerned. Currently, the WHO has said that this is a variant of interest but it could become a variant of concern because currently the number of cases is less. Will this Delta plus again become the dominant variant that is something that we need to observe over the next few weeks," Dr Guleria said in an interview to NDTV.

He said India needs to learn from the UK where the Delta Plus variant is causing a surge in cases. There is a need to ramp up genome sequencing in India, to see if there are more of Delta or Delta plus cases and how the virus is behaving in terms of these two variants in the community.

"We need to understand this virus is changing and changing to survive and infect more and more people, therefore we have to be aggressive and try and be ahead of the virus. The UK did a very good job by having an aggressive lockdown for many months and when they started opening up, the new variant, the delta variant, caused the surge in infections. What it means is we are also in a similar vulnerable situation and if we are not careful right now then 3 or 4 months from now, we will again have a similar situation and that is why we need to be very aggressive,” Dr Guleria said.