A new version of the Delta SARS-CoV-2 variant has been spotted in 11 different countries, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Officials in India, it adds, have dubbed the variant Delta Plus and it contains a K417N mutation in the spike protein not seen in the original Delta variant. But whether Delta Plus is more transmissible or deadly than the original Delta is unclear, the Journal notes. The University of Cambridge's Ravindra Gupta tells it that though the K417N mutation is not in the original Delta, it is found in versions of the Alpha variant but has not made the Alpha more dangerous.
"There is no reason to think at this point it's worse than Delta, but there is no reason to think it's an innocuous variant," Anurag Agrawal, director of the CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, adds at the Journal.
According to CNN, the Indian government says whether the K417N mutation affects "immune escape, disease severity or increased transmissibility etc. is under continued surveillance." CNN adds that Delta Plus has been found in the UK, US, Canada, and Japan, in addition to in India and a few other countries.