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The Delta Variant: What You Need To Know

The Delta Variant: What You Need To Know

A highly contagious variant of the coronavirus, delta, is spreading rapidly in Lebanon and throughout the world, driving cases to increase in certain countries and forcing lockdowns in other nations.

Why is it of concern?

In May, the World Health Organization categorized the delta variant as a “variant of concern.” 

This categorization is used when there is substantial evidence indicating that a variable is more transmissible, causes more severe illnesses, or affects the efficacy of vaccinations and treatments. 

According to research, delta, also known as B.1.617.2, is the most contagious of all previously identified variants, including the contagious alpha variant discovered in the United Kingdom.

Public health authorities in the UK, where delta accounted for over 95% of new cases in Covid-19, say that 40 to 60% more transmissible than the alpha version is possible, but investigations are continuing.

Does the Delta variant cause more severe illness?

Although further study is required, there are signs that the delta variant may trigger more severe illness. 

The effect of the delta variant in Scotland, where it had become the prevalent strain, was investigated in a research published in The Lancet on June 14th.

 When comparing individuals infected with the delta form to those infected with the alpha type, the researchers discovered that the risk of hospitalization from Covid-19 was nearly doubled.

“When we compare the original strain, the U.K. [alpha] variant, and now the delta variant, we see a difference in transmissibility as well as the potential for more severe outcomes,” explained Dr. Alejandro Perez-Trepichio, an internal medicine physician in Naples, Florida.

Are vaccines effective against the delta variant?

The currently available vaccines seem to provide enough protection against the delta variant, and most scientists confirm that fully vaccinated people are unlikely to be in danger.

The vaccine developed by Moderna is effective against the delta form, according to the company. The findings were based upon blood samples from individuals who had been completely vaccinated, and revealed that they developed protective antibodies against many of the circulating variants, notably delta.

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