The delta variant of the coronavirus has been the dominant strain in many countries and is believed to be the driving force behind the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The variant is increasing the number of cases in South Africa and the United Kingdom, thwarting the Boris Johnson government’s plan to reopen the country.
The Delta variant, which has further mutated to Delta Plus, has a 60% higher transmission rate than the original Alpha version. Which was first found in Kent, United Kingdom. Delta was first discovered in India. The estimates for the doubling rate (time taken for the number of infections to double) of infection for the Delta is also relatively high, with doubling time ranging from 4.5 days to 11.5 days.
A detailed study conducted by Scottish researchers last month showed that the delta variant doubles the risk of hospitalization compared with the previously dominant variant in the UK.
What did the Study Show?
- The study was published in the leading medical journal The Lancet. It states that people with comorbidities and older age are at increased risk of contracting the delta variant.
- Public Health England (PHE) also described a vulnerable group, claiming that young and unvaccinated are at increased risk of getting infected with the strain.
- The Scottish study looked at 19,543 community cases and 377 hospitalizations among 5.4 million people in Scotland, 7,723 cases, and 134 hospitalizations of which were found to have the delta variant.
- They also said that two doses of vaccine provide much better protection than one dose against the delta variant.
- Meanwhile, PHE said the COVID-19 vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca offer high protection of more than 90% against hospitalization from the delta version of the coronavirus.
- Researchers at the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology (ICMR-NIV), Pune have claimed that Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin is also effective in neutralizing delta and beta variants of Sars-CoV-2.
However, some studies say that delta variants can infect vaccinated people, though the infection does not turn severe.
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