Delta Plus Covid variant found in high percentage of test samples in Aylesbury Vale

Nearly a third of tests sequenced in Aylesbury Vale contained the new Delta Plus variant
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Aylesbury Vale had one of the highest number of Covid test samples in England that contained the new Delta Plus variant, new data reveals.

The data is based on the number of confirmed cases of the Delta Plus variant from Covid-19 tests that were genomically sequenced in the week to October 9.

Every week, scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute test a sample of positive Covid tests from each area to work out which variant it is.

Composite: Kim Mogg/JPIMediaComposite: Kim Mogg/JPIMedia
Composite: Kim Mogg/JPIMedia

A total of 171 tests were sequenced in Aylesbury Vale in the week to October 9, and 56 of these were found to be the Delta Plus variant - 32.7 per cent of samples.

This compares with 25.3 per cent in Milton Keynes, 15.4 per cent in Bedford and 11.4 per cent in South Northants.

These figures do not show the overall number of Delta Plus cases, as not all tests are genomically sequenced.

The new Delta variant, known as AY.4.2, or Delta Plus, is currently being monitored by Downing Street.

The descendant of the Delta variant has been slowly increasing in case numbers in the UK, although there is currently no evidence that it spreads more easily.

Scientists have said Delta Plus carries two characteristic mutations in the spike - Y145H and A222V - both of which have been found in other coronavirus lineages since the start of the pandemic.

However, these strains have remained at a low frequency until recently, with the first to carry both mutations being sequenced in April 2020.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has said that new variants are being identified “all the time” and at the moment Delta Plus poses no greater threat than any other variant.

But Mr Javid urged people to get vaccinated against Covid-19, and take up the offer of a booster dose, to help keep infections under control after warning cases could rise to 100,000 per day this winter.

He said: “While there’s no reason to believe at this point that AY.4.2 poses a greater threat, the next variant, or the one after that, might do.

“So we need to be ready for what lies around the corner. This means our ongoing programme of booster jabs is so important, and this winter we’re prioritising those most in need.”