All breakthrough infections of the Coronavirus disease that have been recorded in India were caused by its Delta and Alpha variants, said a senior official of the department of biotechnology. No new strain of the virus has been reported in the country as of now.
“So far, all the breakthrough infections which have been sequenced there has been no other variant been identified, but for the Delta and in some cases we know that we have Alpha in the country,” DBT secretary Renu Swarup was quoted as saying.
Unicef’s website said, “The Delta variant of COVID-19 has been called a variant of concern by WHO because of its high transmissibility. Where the Delta variant is identified, it quickly and efficiently spreads between people. As of 10 August, the Delta variant has been reported in 142 countries and is expected to continue spreading
“The Delta variant is highly contagious, about twice as contagious as previous variants. However, the same precautions, such as avoiding crowded spaces, keeping your distance from others and mask-wearing, still work against the Delta variant,” it added.
A ‘breakthrough’ infection takes place when the virus breaches the protection that is offered by vaccines. This subsequently leads to infections among inoculated people.
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Last week, the Indian SARS-CoV2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) said India had witnessed a high number of breakthrough infections. It is also said that vaccination has been effective against severe infection, hospitalisation, and death.
Genomic sequencing of breakthrough infections has found that the highly transmissible Delta variant is the cause.
“As of now, sequencing of vaccination breakthroughs in India is also showing a very high proportion of the Delta variant. Investigations for any new variants are ongoing,” INSACOG said. It also said that Delta was 20,324 of the 30,230 samples of ‘Variants of Concern and Variants of Interest’ sequenced by the INSACOG.
Delta and Delta plus variants have driven breakthrough cases of infection all over the world. In India, a large number of such cases have been reported by Kerala.
Experts say that in the case of any virus, breakthrough cases are expected to a certain extent. No vaccine is 100 per cent effective even in clinical trials.
Since May, cases of breakthrough infections have been rising in the United States, prompting many states to bring back mask mandates.