Delta Plus Covid variant symptoms explained as 41 cases confirmed in UK
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A new coronavirus variant, known as the Delta plus variant, has been declared a "variant of concern" in India, and has been detected in other countries in Europe.
The variant, also known as AY.1, is related to the already-existing Delta variant, which was first identified in India last year.
The Delta variant is thought to have driven the deadly second wave of infections in the summer.
Now India's health ministry says the Delta plus variant, first found in India in April, has been detected in around 40 samples from is districts in three states.
The new variant has also been found in nine other countries, including the UK.
Public Health England's latest report on variants confirm that 41 of the 75,953 Delta cases in the UK were the Delta plus mutation.
So what exactly is the new Delta Plus Covid variant, and how does it differ from the other variants of concern?
What is the Delta Plus Covid variant?
Delta Plus is a new variant, known as AY.1, which is related to the Delta variant.
It is thought to be even more infectious than the Delta variant, which in itself is 60% more transmissible than the Alpha, or Kent variant.
Scientists have warned that the Delta Plus variant has three worrying characteristics.
It reportedly has increased transmissibility, stronger binding in receptors of lung cells and potential reduction in monoclonal antibody response.
What are the symptoms of the Delta Plus variant?
It's not yet clear whether the symptoms of of the Delta Plus Covid variant is different to those of the Delta variant.
However, India's News 18 channel has reported that those who have become ill with the Delta plus have had symptoms such as stomach ache, vomiting, loss of appetite, nausea, joint pains and hearing impairment.
According to the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus are a new, continuous cough, loss of smell and taste, and a high fever.
But those who have had the Delta variant have also reported different symptoms, such as a headache, runny nose and sore throat.
Should we be worried?
Dr Lance Pinto, consultant respirologist at the Hinduja National Hospital, told Sky News: "We are quite concerned about the Delta plus variant, given that it has a mutation that was attributed to the Beta variant – escaping the immunity offered by the Astra vaccine (the vaccine received by a majority in India).
"The concerns also revolve around the possibility of reinfections as there are reports that the variant escapes neutralization with the antibody cocktail."
However, scientists told BBC that it's too early to tell if the so-called Delta Plus variant is more dangerous than the original one.
It also suggested India has acted too soon to label it a variant of concern.
Dr Gagandeep Kang, a virologist and the first Indian woman to be elected Fellow of the Royal Society of London, said: "There is no data yet to support the variant of concern claim.
"You need biological and clinical information in order to consider whether it is truly a variant of concern."
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