SARS-CoV-2 Delta Variant Could Cause New Wave of COVID-19
Based on the Public Health of England’s latest report, the delta variant of the coronavirus has likely become the dominant strand in the UK, as it has caused 74% of sequenced cases and 96% of sequenced and genotyped cases of COVID-19.
Scientists first noticed this variant, also known as the B.1.617.2 lineage, in December 2020, in India. Since then, it has quickly spread worldwide. More specifically, in April 2021, the delta variant became the most common COVID-19 variant in India, and as of then, it has spread to 80 countries.
Recently, in both the UK and the US, concerns have risen that the delta variant could cause another COVID-19 wave, diminishing all efforts to ease pandemic restrictions. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, warns that the countries with the delta variant, especially those with fewer vaccinated people, should be concerned about a surge in new cases.
Unfortunately, this strand is around 60% more transmissible than the alpha variant because it has key mutations in the spike protein, allowing it to pass through and infect healthy cells.
The symptoms of the delta variant are different compared to previous strands of the virus; they include headaches, a runny nose, and a sore throat. According to Imperial College London’s estimates, the delta variant may increase the chances of COVID-19 hospitalizations, exposing the UK to the probability of a third wave.
The former FDA administrator, Dr. Gottlieb, advises US citizens to get fully vaccinated, as outbreaks of this variant are possible, especially in places with low vaccination rates.
Although it still hasn’t been proven that current vaccines can combat the Delta variant, it seems that following the current pandemic protocols and getting vaccinated are the best weapons to prevent another COVID-19 wave.
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