Published: 23rd October 2021
What The FAQ: Here's everything that we know about AY.4.2 subvariant of Delta COVID variant. Should we be worried?
Investigations are on to determine whether the new variant could be more contagious and could also weaken the effect of vaccines that have been administered worldwide
A subvariant of the Delta variant has been discovered in various European countries, including the UK and Russia. Investigations are on to determine whether the new variant could be more contagious and could also weaken the effect of vaccines that have been administered worldwide. Here's what you need to know about the new COVID subvariant and whether India should be concerned about it yet:
What is the new Delta subvariant?
The new Delta subvariant is called AY.4.2 and is responsible for 6 per cent of the UK's new COVID cases. While the Delta variant, which wreaked havoc in India this year, still remains the major variant and has been called a 'variant of concern' by the WHO, the variant that is being dubbed as 'Delta Plus' is now being monitored by the UK's Health Security Agency.
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Who detected the subvariant?
It was the UK's Health Security Agency that flagged the new subvariant almost a week ago. Various other European countries have reported cases with the new subvariant.
Where has the Delta subvariant been found?
Besides the UK, the subvariant has also been found in Russia, whose health infrastructure is already struggling amid a massive COVID surge and record deaths. Russian researchers have stated that the AY.4.2 could spread more widely. In fact, Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to impose a fresh lockdown in the country for a week. AY.4.2 has also been found in Israel.
Should India be concerned?
The COVID situation in India is currently under control with cases and the number of deaths is on a steady decline. While experts suggest that a third wave is imminent, it is not certain whether AY.4.2 will be the cause of it as the subvariant is still being investigated and its characteristics still remain largely unknown.
However, besides the UK and Russia, several countries in Europe — including Latvia, Ireland and Bulgaria — and countries like New Zealand and Singapore have imposed fresh COVID curbs owing to rising COVID cases.