Delta Plus: Would there be next wave due to this?


June 29, 2021


Delta Plus variant of SARS-CoV-2 virus is a cause of concern, as it has characteristics of both Delta and Beta variant. Would it cause the next wave and when ? It is known that it has been identified in 11 countries, including USA ( 83 ), UK (41), and India (48).


Major Issue is Delta is more transmissible, and we all saw what happened in May’21, and what is happening around the world in Jun’21. Delta Plus has an extra mutation called K417N. Most of the coronavirus vaccines are designed to train the body to recognise the spike protein, or parts of it – the place where Delta Plus extra mutation is. So what happens to efficacy of vaccines and the immune response ?

Other worrying trait of Delta Plus is stronger binding to receptors of lung cells, so does it makes it more lethal or transmissible, we don’t know yet. How is antibody response due to this affinity ? We don’t know.

Going Forward:

So what happens next ?

Let us first see how variants have evolved in India and how many total cases were there at that time

In India, Delta was less than 1 % of total on 22 Mar’21. New COVID cases on that day were 40636. On 5 May’21 when it was peak for new cases, Delta was 52 %. Kappa was 35 %, Beta was 9% and alpha was 4 %. On 21 June’21 Delta is 98 %. So we see dominant variant takes over.

In United Kingdom, alpha was 100 % on 22 Mar’21. On 21 June’21, Delta is 94 %

In United States, Alpha was major variant at 36 %. On 21 June’21, alpha is 59 %, however, delta has been increasing rapidly and now 22 %. As we have seen in India and UK, Delta easily takes over Alpha.

Globally we don’t see such trend, as on 22 Mar’21, Alpha was 44 %, and on 21 Jun’21 it is 43 %. It is probably because one variant first spreads to new areas, before any another new dominant variants take over. Delta is 28 % on 21 Jun’21 globally.


So would there be next wave in India ?

We had written an article on Strategyboffins Coronavirus India: Explained in one graph on 12 Feb’21 trying to explore reasons why COVID cases were falling in India. One mistake we did at the time was not to look at different variants. Herd immunity level based on the earlier COVID variants was probably lower, and hence, the cases were falling at 20-30% infection levels. However for Alpha and Delta Variants, herd immunity level required were probably 70-80 %.

If we include vaccination, and undetected cases, India has been infected 70-80 %. This is the reason, cases fell so rapidly after 5 May’21 in India. But they are not falling as rapidly now in June’21, probably due to Delta Plus. Capacity for genome sequencing in India is only 45000 samples per month. We certainly need more sequencing to find out new variants.

So most effective tool for COVID is genome sequencing. RTPCR is too broad, and since different variants behave differently, RTPCR cannot tell us what next ?

Looking at the fact that Dharavi in Mumbai was not much affected by 2nd wave as much as rest of Mumbai, we can safely say there won’t be another wave in India. May be regional waves. Not in Mumbai, Delhi or Bangalore. But if there is a new variant which escapes immunity developed due to vaccination or infection, there could be another wave. When ? Probably 6 months after new variant is detected. If it is Delta Plus – in Aug-Sep’21

Do not forget to buy N95 masks

Disclaimer: This article is written based on publicly available information. Strategy Boffins makes every effort to use reliable and comprehensive information, but Strategy Boffins does not represent that the contents of the report are accurate or complete. Author is not an expert, or a researcher and opinion is based on data


Strategy Boffins Team
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