The coronavirus variant first found in India, or the Delta variant, is behind the second surge of Covid in the country, a government study has found.
The Delta variant – or the B.1.617.2 strain – is “more infectious” than the Alpha variant first detected in Kent, UK, says the study by the Indian SARS COV2 Genomic Consortia and the National Centre for Disease Control.
The Delta variant is, in fact, 50 per cent more contagious than the Alpha strain, the study says.
More than 12,200 Variants of Concern in the country, as revealed by genomic sequencing, says the study that is still ongoing. But their presence is miniscule compared to the Delta variant, which replaced all other variants in the second wave.
The Delta variant is present in all states, but has infected most in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana, which were the worst hit in the second surge.
The role of the Delta variant in breakthrough infections – or Covid infections after vaccination – has also been found to be big.
There are no such cases of infection after vaccination when it comes to the Alpha variant.
But the study says the role of the Delta variant in more deaths or severity of cases is not proved.
The genome sequencing of 29,000 samples has been done in India, the study says. The B.1.617 has been found in 8,900 samples. More than 1,000 of those samples tested for the Delta variant.