They said they are still trying to determine why this delta variant is more transmissible than the original coronavirus strain and possibly renders people more ill.
In a Friday press briefing, WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, said, “we’re desperately trying to understand why the delta variant is more transmissible.” The delta variant of the virus exhibits certain mutations that permit it to adhere to cellular surfaces more readily. It has been observed in some laboratory studies that the modeled human airways are replicating at a higher rate.
Efforts Are Underway To Determine Why Delta Is Much More Hazardous Than Earlier Strains Of Covid
Recently, scientists have been gathering new data around the world on this highly transmissible strain to help them better understand it as a new threat. In a report released Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the delta strain of viruses is highly contagious, more contagious than the common cold, swine flu, or polio. Like chickenpox, it is highly contagious. A longer transmission window may also exist than with the original Covid-19 strain, and the illness could still affect older people who haven’t been fully vaccinated.
CNBC reviewed and authenticated a confidential document reviewed by the federal health agency on Thursday to make the warning.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove: Viruses themselves are dangerous when they start. Viruses such as this are highly contagious. Van Kerkhove added that the Delta variant was even more robust. This strain is two to three times as infectious as the ancestral strains.
As countries struggle to provide life-saving vaccines to their populations, the WHO expects the emergence of other dangerous variants. The more they circulate, the fitter they become, and this will likely result in the virus becoming more transmissible, as viruses change as they evolve, according to Van Kerkhove.
In her view, nations must adhere to public health measures, like wearing masks and practicing social distancing throughout the world, as well as distributing more vaccines, especially to nations with low vaccination rates.
According to Bruce Aylward, director-general of WHO’s office of senior advisors, “about 70% coverage globally is needed to slow down the transmission and reduce the risk of emergence of new variants.”
The current trends do not seem to be optimistic for the health sector. The virus variant is not the last from which you’ll hear from us, Van Kerkhove said.
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What makes Delta so bad?
Specifically, it’s the most contagious type of SARS-CoV2 yet — 55% more infectious than beta, the previously most contagious form, and twice as contagious as other strains circulating. WHO anticipates delta to emerge rapidly over other SARS-CoV-2 strains worldwide and to overtake them in a few months.
Are deltas more transmissible for some reason?
The origins of the variant are uncertain, but researchers believe it replicates quickly within host cells and may result in them expelling it more rapidly. Covid deaths have also been reported to be higher in Delta patients due to their reduced immunization rates and social mobility.
What makes it different from others?
An inherent genetic mutation allows the variant to bind more easily to ACE2, a protein on some human cells, making it more likely to cause infections. An infection with the Delta virus increased the concentration of virus particles or viral loads 1,200 times over the original Coronavirus infection. Researchers noted that delta strains did not only replicate more rapidly but also made patients more infectious during the early stages of infection. The research was released without a prepublication review by experts in the same field. Especially in countries such as China and Australia, countries that rely heavily on quarantining infected contacts to prevent outbreaks, a shorter incubation period may make it harder to identify the contact before they become infected.