Still battling Covid, Kerala wary of new Delta sub-lineage AY 4.2

Variant of Delta reported in MP, Maharashtra and a few other states

Published: 26th October 2021 06:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th October 2021 10:00 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: An alert has been sounded across Kerala after AY 4.2, a sub-lineage of the Covid Delta variant, was detected in various parts of the country. 

The new variant has been reported in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and a few other states.

Since it is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant, which is considered the most dangerous mutation of the novel coronavirus, the AY 4.2 has been labelled as a ‘variant under investigation’ by the UK.

In India, AY 4.2 is a ‘variant of interest’.

However, it may lead to another wave of infection and hence, adhering to Covid protocol and staying vigilant is of paramount importance, say experts.

Also, Kerala is not out of the woods yet when it comes to Covid. At present, the state tops in the country in terms of daily and active cases.

On Monday itself, 6,664 new cases were reported and active cases were over 74,000 in Kerala.  

“As of now, we can only wait and analyse the progress of AY 4.2. It is too early to predict its transmissibility and severity. The Delta variant caused a severe spread in India. Therefore, the risks involved cannot be ignored,” said Kochi-based pulmonologist Dr Monu Varghese.

“Things are very crucial for Kerala as we continue to report a high number of Covid cases than other states. With the easing of restrictions, people have lowered their guard. Even social distancing, the basic Covid protocol, is not being followed in public places,” he said.

On Monday, 636 cases of Covid protocol violations and 4,300 cases of people not wearing masks were reported in the state. 

AY 4.2 is suspected to be behind the spike in cases in countries like the UK, US, Russia and China. Scientists believe AY 4.2 may be 10 per cent more transmissible than the Delta variant.

“Undoubtedly, the Delta variant is highly contagious, transmissible and more resistant to treatment and we are still in its grip. Generally, virus mutations are not that dangerous, but in the case of Covid, it is very hard to say. In the wake of more relaxations in curbs, everyone should be careful. Vaccination also play a vital role in controlling the severity of the infection,” said Dr Mathew Varghese, a general physician in Alappuzha.

A health official with the Kerala Covid task force said no new variants have been reported in the state and genome sequencing is being conducted to keep track of the existence of any possible variants.


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