Today, an infectious variant of the COVID-19 virus, named Delta, is widespread in the United States and around the globe. It has increased the infection rates in some countries, compelling nations to declare lockdowns.
The Delta variant initially detected in India today accounts for close to 25% of new COVID-19 cases in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is all set to become the dominant virus version.
The Delta is a concern.
WHO (World Health Organization) declared Delta as the “variant of concern” in May 2021. Paul Haarman says that this designation is used where there are several proofs that a particular variant causes severe illness, is more transmissible, and brings down the vaccine efficacy.
According to the latest research, the Delta, officially termed as the “B.1.617.2”, has proven to be the most contagious virus variant to date, comprising the highly transmissible alpha variant which got identified initially in Britain. According to the U.K.-based public health officials, this variant can prove to be 40 to 60% more transmissible compared to the alpha variant. However, there are ongoing studies about this.
The Delta Plus variant
It’s been a trait of the novel coronavirus to evolve and mutate as it gets widespread. The scientific community has always warned people about this mutation which can result in new outbreaks.
Researchers have also observed separate mutations from the Delta in a somewhat virus sub-lineage, termed the “Delta Plus.” The WHO or CDC has not considered it as a “variant of concern.” However, there have been increased cases regarding Delta Plus in 11 countries, including the United States. However, more research is needed to conclude whether Delta Plus will carry additional risks or has maximized transmissibility.
Can the delta virus variant result in severe symptoms and illness?
There is a need for more research to answer this question. According to a study published on June 14th, the Delta variant has become a dominant strain in Scotland. However, there are certain signs that the Delta virus variant can result in a severe ailment. Hospitalization risk from the COVID-19 had somewhat doubled for the patients infected by the Delta variant compared to those infected with the alpha virus variant.
When researchers compared both the Delta and Alpha variants, they find a distinct difference in the transmissibility. And that alone results in hazardous outcomes for many people.
Can the vaccines help?
Paul Haarman says that the vaccines used seemed to provide reasonable security against the Delta virus variant. The scientists assert that a fully vaccinated individual will face little risk. Moderna had recently announced that its vaccine works effectively against the Delta variant. The outcomes were based on the blood samples collected from people who were fully vaccinated. The reports indicated that people’s bodies generated protective antibodies against many circulating virus variants, including the Delta. So vaccinating is the best option to avoid infection form the virus.