Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)



ther evolved into three sublineage­s – B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.

Early data shows B.1.617.2, dubbed as Delta by WHO, has higher transmissi­on advantages over the other two sub-lineages. B.1.617, initially termed as double mutant, has three new spike protein mutations. Two mutations -E484Q and L452R -- are in the area important for antibodyba­sed neutralisa­tion. The third mutation -- P681R in B.1.617 -along with the reversion of E484Q allows its sub-lineage to be more infectious.

The World Health Organisati­on (WHO) has termed it as “Variant of Concern”.

“It has been found that Delta variant is in fact, 50% more contagious than the Alpha strain,” the study by INSACOG and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) showed.

The public health informatio­n shared with states said that the Delta variant is present in all states, but has infected people mostly in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtr­a, Odisha, and Telangana, which were the worst hit in the second surge.

The INSACOG is a grouping of 10 National Laboratori­es that was establishe­d by the ministry of health and family welfare on December 25 last year. It has been carrying out genomic sequencing and analysis of Covid-19 viruses and correlatin­g epidemiolo­gical trends with genomic variants.

at 52,100.05.

Inflation risks loom

The RBI’S monetary policy committee downgraded its growth forecast for the 2021-22 fiscal year to 9.5% from 10.5% previously but did not expect the fallout from the current coronaviru­s restrictio­ns to be as bad as the impact of a national lockdown last year.

“The sudden rise in Covid-19 infections and fatalities has impaired the nascent recovery that was underway, but has not snuffed it out. The impulses of growth are still alive,” Das said.

Das said normal monsoons will augur well for the agricultur­e sector and, alongside supply side interventi­ons from the government, should help keep inflationa­ry pressures in check.

But supply constraint­s due to coronaviru­s curbs and rising input costs, on the back of higher commodity prices, could fuel inflation, RBI said.

Retail inflation is seen at 5.1% in 2021-2022 and RBI deputy governor Michael Patra said the MPC’S view is that inflation is not “persistent”.

The central bank has slashed the repo rate by a total of 115 basis points (bps) since March 2020 to soften the blow from the pandemic, following 135 bps worth of rate cuts since February 2019. “We will continue to think and act out of the box, planning for the worst and hoping for the best,” Das said.

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