The coronavirus pandemic isn’t over. And world health leaders are now discussing a new coronavirus variant that appears to spread quickly and may be resistant to some health care treatments. That variant has been dubbed delta plus.

The newest “variant of concern,” the delta plus evolution of the coronavirus, has been found in nearly a dozen countries, CNBC reported.

  • The original delta variant, which was first identified in India in December, has spread to 80 countries, the BBC reported.
Related
The delta variant could dominate the U.S. in weeks. Here’s what to know

What to know about the new delta plus coronavirus

Health officials in India, where the original delta variant has taken a deadly toll, first dubbed the new mutation “delta plus,” according to Reuters.

  • “It is a sub-lineage of the delta variant first detected in India and has acquired the spike protein mutation called K417N which is also found in the beta variant first identified in South Africa,” Reuters reported.
Related
Understanding the risk of the delta variant could be a motivator to get the young vaccinated

Indian health officials said studies have shown that the delta plus variant “spreads more easily, binds more easily to lung cells and is potentially resistant to monoclonal antibody therapy,” according to the BBC. Those concerns have led the new mutation to be called a “variant of concern,” reported the BBC.

But because so few cases have been identified and studied, international health officials warned it’s too early sound the alarm.

  • “We don’t have much reason to believe this (the delta plus variant) is any more dangerous than the original delta,” said Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center virologist Jeremy Kamil, CBS News reported.
  • “I would keep calm. I don’t think India or anyone else in the world has released or accumulated enough data to distinguish the risk from the so-called delta plus as being more dangerous or concerning than the original delta variant,” Kamil said.

New Delhi physician and epidemiologist Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya told CNBC in an email Thursday it was OK for governments to be alert, but delta plus wasn’t cause to panic.

  • “Epidemiologically speaking, I have no reason to believe that ‘delta plus’ alters the current situation in a manner to accelerate or trigger the third wave,” Lahariya wrote.