COVID-19 Delta Variant 40-60 Percent More Transmissible Than Alpha

A medical worker works on the preliminary blood test of people tested for COVID-19 at the Chulalongkorn University Health Service Center in Bangkok, Thailand, April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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New Delhi, July 19: The head of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration and Co-Chair of Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium, Dr NK Arora said that the COVID-19 Delta variant is around 40-60 percent more transmissible than Alpha Variant. “B.1.617.2, a variant of COVID-19 is known as the Delta variant.

It was first identified in October 2020 in India, and was primarily responsible for the second wave in the country, today accounting for over 80 percent of new COVID-19 cases.

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Dr Arora said that it is around 40-60 percent more transmissible than its predecessor (Alpha variant) and has already spread to more than 80 countries, including the UK, the USA, Singapore etc.

He said that it has mutations in its spike protein, which helps it bind to the ACE2 receptors present on the surface of the cells more firmly, making it more transmissible and capable of evading the body’s immunity.

He added that it leads to a strong inflammatory response in organs like the lungs. However, it is difficult to say that disease due to delta variant is more severe.

He said that next wave will be driven by a virus variant to which significant proportion of population is susceptible. The second wave is still going on.

Dr Arora added that any future waves will be controlled and delayed if more and more people get vaccinated and most importantly, people follow COVID-Appropriate Behaviour effectively, especially till a substantial part of our population gets vaccinated.