No COVID-19 Delta Plus variant found in Singapore: MOH official

Doctor with a positive blood sample for the new variant detected of the coronavirus strain called covid DELTA. Research of new strains and mutations of the Covid 19 coronavirus in the laboratory
(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE – There are no cases of the COVID-19 Delta Plus variant detected in Singapore to date, said the Ministry of Health’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Friday (6 August).

No such cases have been detected in the phylogenetic testing done for all infections here, said Professor Mak, in response to a question by Yahoo News Singapore during a virtual press conference chaired by the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce.

India's health ministry last month said that based on studies, the Delta Plus variant – also known as B.1.617.2.1 or AY.1 – spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to therapy used to treat the infection. Studies are ongoing globally to test the effectiveness of vaccines against the strain.

The Delta Plus is a sub-lineage of the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in India, which has been the dominant strain behind recent surges of infections worldwide, including Singapore.

The Plus variant has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N, which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

Globally, some 500 cases of the Plus strain have been detected so far in at least 32 countries – including Japan, the UK and China – and 18 US states.

South Korea is one of the latest countries to confirm the presence of the variant, with at least two such cases reported on Tuesday. One of them is a man in his 40s with no recent travel records while the other is a traveller who returned from the US. The latter had been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Since May, the Delta variant has become the dominant variant circulating in Singapore.

According to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), the world's largest database of novel coronavirus genome sequences, the first case of the Delta variant in Singapore was detected on 26 February.

The database showed that there are 2,116 cases of the Delta variant here as of 28 July.

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