What is the Delta variant of Covid-19 & its found in Melbourne? Variant strains are sweeping Southeast Asia. Can vaccines prevent it?

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COVID outbreak took another turn last week when a new variant was discovered by health officials. It is unclear whether this new Delta variant of covid-19 emerged from Victoria (Melbourne), New South Wales or elsewhere. This does not match any cases in hotel quarantine so far.

We still have a lot to learn about this edition. Right now most of the data we have is coming out of the UK. We don’t know for sure yet. whether the variant is fatal or whether it is more prevalent in children. But preliminary data shows. That it is more transmissible than other variants.

The good news is that both the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines still work relatively well against it. Although only after the second dose.

What’s the Delta variant of Coronavirus (Covid-19)?

The World Health Organization has a new naming system using the Greek alphabet for the coronavirus variants of concern.

The Delta version was previously known as the “Indian version”. Because it was first found in India. It is one of the three sub-lineages of the Indian version. It is also known as B.1.617.2. The kappa type – the most prevalent strain in Victoria’s latest outbreak and which resulted from the South Australian hotel quarantine – is B.1.617.1.

WHO has introduced this new naming system to avoid the stigma associated with associating country names with variants. There was concern about this. That the old naming system may reduce the likelihood of countries reporting new variants in the future. Fearing that his country would be blamed for the variant.

A historical example is the “Spanish Flu”. In fact, evidence suggests that this flu strain may not have originated in Spain.

The new system is a non-judicial way to track new variants.

it is more infectious

The Delta variant of covid-19 has been detected in many different countries around the world, including the UK, US, Fiji, Singapore and now Australia.

In the UK, Delta is outpacing the Alpha strain. formerly known as the “UK version”. This alone gives suggestions. That delta is more permeable than alpha. Which is significantly more transmissible than the original strain first detected in Wuhan, China. The UK health secretary said Delta is 40% more contagious than Alpha. Sharon Levin, director of the Doherty Institute, speculates. that it is about 50% more contagious than alpha.

People infected with Delta infect their household members more than people with the alpha strain. We don’t know exactly yet. Why is it more permeable? But the data shows. That it is better than other variants in our cell. In virology, viruses that are better able to replicate in cells are more infectious.

Are there more cases in children?

It is difficult to definitively answer this question. Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has said. that there are anecdotal reports of Delta being more transmissible in children. This same hypothesis came to the fore when the alpha version was first taking effect in some parts of the world.

delta variant of covid-19 Most affected in childrens

My lab has tested recently. Whether alpha replicated better in children’s cells and found that it did not. We haven’t been able to test the Delta variant of covid-19 in our lab yet. But I would treat this idea with caution for two reasons.

The first is that stress is generally more contagious. New virus Delta variant of Covid-19, Which can lead to more cases in children (and everyone). And secondly, the children have not been vaccinated. While many adults have, that biases the data.

So, what are the most common symptoms of the Delta variant?

According to Prof Spector, a headache is now the most reported symptom, followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever.

  • ‘Bad cold’
  • An ‘off feeling’

Variant strains are sweeping Southeast Asia. Can vaccines prevent it?

India has set a “new record”. According to the data of June 10 of the Ministry of Health of India. That there have been 6,148 new coronary pneumonia deaths in the last 24 hours. This broke the highest number of deaths in a single day set by the United States on February 12 this year (5444 cases) in a single country.

Since the end of May, the current phase of the pandemic in India has gradually gone down from its peak. At present, many places including the capital New Delhi and financial center Mumbai have been unblocked to varying degrees. In this regard, the Indian media is “not optimistic.” “India faces the twin dangers of delay in vaccination and the spread of various types. It is recommended that the government carefully unblocks it.” Times of India said.

On June 4, the National Center for Disease Control of India and others published a study on the pre-printed platform, claiming that the mutant strain Delta was the main culprit in exploding this period of pandemic in India.

The mutant strain may have entered China. On 5 June, the weekly report from the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chongqing. Genome sequencing revealed that the mutation sites were similar to delta in the 3 isolates. At the Guangzhou Epidemic Prevention and Control press conference held on May 30, Chen Bin, deputy director of the Guangzhou Municipal Health Commission, said that the gene sequencing results tested in this period of the Guangzhou epidemic are highly homologous, and they are all mutant strains. B.1.617. . Delta belongs to the same lineage.

“We have three conclusions: The mutant strain delta is easier to spread. Has a higher survival immunity rate and secondary infection risk, and is more likely to break through vaccine protection.” “Look at New Delhi. The world needs strong public health measures to stop the spread of the mutant delta,” Ragh Agarwal told the Economic Times of India.

The electronic display on the street warns that there are cases of COVID-19 infection in this area. /AFP
The electronic display on the street warns that there are cases of COVID-19 infection in this area. 

Why is Delta so much concerned?

The mutant strain Delta variant of Covid-19 caused an uproar in India and the United Kingdom.

The mutant strain (Delta variant of Covid-19) was originally called B.1.617.2 and first appeared in India in October 2020. On June 1, 2021 local time, the World Health Organization (WHO) listed it as a “mutant strain of high concern”. The other two mutant strains of the same lineage as Delta, B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.3, were observed to have a low transmission rate, so they were included in the “mutants that need attention”.

“Delta has a higher public health risk and is an important reason for the sharp increase in the number of infections and deaths in India since April.” The ABC has repeatedly reported the outbreak in India. According to an article on June 9th, in February and March this year, the capital New Delhi seemed to “walk out” of the hot zone, with an average of only more than 100 newly diagnosed cases per day.

By April, the number of new infections in a single day in New Delhi increased to nearly 30,000. “India’s new crown epidemic is out of control.” In April and May, the Indian media shouted desperately. The BBC quoted New Delhi TV as reporting that there were multiple bodies floating in the Yamuna River in Uttar Pradesh, India. “Due to the high cost of cremation and people’s concern that cremation of the deceased will cause infection, a large number of the dead are abandoned on the river bank.”

Yamuna River Delhi: Locals in India pointed out that the high cost of cremation
Locals in India pointed out that the high cost of cremation has led people to abandon the deceased from the new crown on both banks of the Yamuna River. 

“Ignoring the social distancing policy, not wearing masks, and holding various large-scale gatherings have created conditions for the rapid spread of the virus. But it cannot explain why there are still a large number of people infected with the disease in areas with high incidence of infection in the past, such as New Delhi.” Michigan State, USA Mukherjee, a university epidemiologist and Indian scholar, told the ABC. The serum sample survey estimates that more than half of the population in New Delhi is positive for COVID-19 antibodies. This ratio has almost formed “herd immunity”.

“The answer or the mutant strain Delta.” said Rainer McIntyre, the head of the biosafety research project at the Bryant Institute in Australia. Compared with the first discovered new crown virus strain, the mutant strain Alpha, which first appeared in the UK, has a higher transmission power. 50%-100%. The transmission power of Delta is 50% higher than it. This means that the transmission power of Delta is 100%-150% higher than that of the original strain.

Anurag Agrawal told the Economic Times of India that his research team sequenced and analyzed samples collected in New Delhi from November 2020 to May 2021. The results showed that the detection rate of Delta increased from 5% in February to 10% in March, and reached 60% in April.

Simultaneously with the increase in the Delta detection rate is the local diagnosis rate. By the third week of April, the positive rate of COVID-19 in New Delhi exceeded 36%. That is, in every 3 samples, there is a positive case of the new crown. “This is the first time that India has confirmed that this round of the epidemic is related to the mutant strain.” Anurag Agrawal said, “I don’t think India would have an outbreak of this scale if there were no mutant strains.”

delta variant of covid-19: sars cov-2 lineages delhi chart

“In this round of the epidemic, each patient’s performance is different.” Mumbai otolaryngology surgeon Heita Mafatia told Bloomberg that some people sought medical treatment for hearing loss, neck swelling and tonsillitis, and then were diagnosed with new crowns. She also saw in the hospital that the initial symptoms were stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and joint pain. A study conducted by the University of New South Wales in Australia in May this year stated that in the variant strain infections that first appeared in South Africa and Brazil, there was almost no evidence that it would cause the above-mentioned clinical symptoms.

Mumbai doctor Ganesh Manudan said that some people with new crown infections have microscopic blood clots. “In the past two months, I have treated 8 new crown patients with thrombosis, two of whom needed amputation. In 2020, there have been three or four cases of this kind of situation. Now there is one case in a week, and there is no history of thrombosis.”

Infectious disease doctor Abdul Gaffer told Bloomberg that there is not enough evidence to support that the mutant strain Delta is more likely to cause severe illness or death. But Choita Basu, who runs a medical institution on the outskirts of New Delhi, disagrees.

“Previously, about 1 out of every 10 confirmed patients needed supplemental oxygen. Now, 1 out of every 2 people.” Choita Basu emphasized that India’s medical oxygen supply continues to be tight. If this continues, more people may die due to lack of oxygen.

The mutant strain Delta Virus epidemic in india
The mutant strain Delta is considered to be an important cause of this “catastrophic” epidemic in India. 

WHO data shows that in the past 6 months, Delta variant of Covid-19 has spread to more than 60 countries around the world.

“There are signs that the UK is in the early stage of the third wave of new crown outbreaks.” The British “Daily Mail” reported that on June 10, there were 7,540 new infections in a single day in the UK, an increase of 74.1% from last week. During the same period, the number of hospitalizations in the UK increased by nearly 40%, and the number of deaths fell by 50%.

At the same time, there has been an “exponential increase” in cases of Delta infection. “Delta accounts for 91% of the strains detected in the UK and has become the main epidemic strain in the UK.” The Daily Mail quoted British Health Secretary Matt Hancock as saying that the UK was originally scheduled to “comprehensively resolve” on June 21. “Closed”, it may be delayed by 2-4 weeks due to the widespread spread of Delta.

delta variant of covid-19 infection Chart In the UK

“Delta accounts for more than 6% of virus sequencing in the United States. In some states in the western United States, the detection rate may reach 18%. The actual number of infections may be higher.” On June 8, local time, the White House held an epidemic briefing in the United States. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, reminded that vaccination should be accelerated to prevent Delta from becoming a major epidemic strain in the United States. “We cannot let the epidemic increase again.”

Many countries in Southeast Asia suffer from Delta

Due to geopolitical and border management issues, Delta variant of Covid-19 has entered a number of countries around India, causing the number of infections to rise rapidly.

On May 21, the first batch of local Delta infection cases were confirmed at a construction site in Bangkok, Thailand, with a total of 36 cases. As of June 10, the Medical Department of the Ministry of Health of Thailand notified that of the 77 provinces in Thailand, 11 provinces had reported Delta infections. Supaji, director of the country’s medical department, pointed out that the department tested 4,185 confirmed cases from April to June this year and found that the number of Delta infections accounted for 8.32%. “It may become the main epidemic strain in Thailand.”

“Malaysia may be one of the countries most affected by the mutant strain.” Sin Chew Daily reported that Malaysia began to ban Indian flights from entering the country at the end of April. However, on May 1, Kuala Lumpur International Airport reported that an Indian passenger was found to be infected with Delta. According to data from the Ministry of Health of Malaysia on June 10, the basic infection rate (R0) of Labuan Island reached 1.27, the highest in the country. “The number of confirmed cases in Labuan Island remains high, mainly due to the rapid spread of the mutant strain Delta in the community and people visiting friends and gatherings during Eid al-Fitr,” said Dr. Ismuni, director of the Labuan Health Bureau.

About Delta variant of Covid-19, Our World in Data data shows that in late May, the number of new infections per million people in a single day in Malaysia has surpassed India for several consecutive days, ranking first among Southeast Asian countries. “Doctors may be forced to allocate intensive care beds to patients with a higher chance of recovery due to lack of medical supplies.” Director of the Ministry of Health Nuo Xishan has repeatedly urged people to stay at home and take practical actions to support frontline medical services.

covid 19 Vaccination center
On June 5, hundreds of people lined up for vaccination outside a new crown vaccination site in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 
/The Star

Singapore’s “Lianhe Zaobao” stated that the current round of the epidemic in Singapore also originated from a mutant strain. On June 9, the Ministry of Health of Singapore confirmed that Delta variant of Covid-19 has a stronger spread. As of May 31, a total of 550 cases of Delta infection have been confirmed in Singapore, of which 428 cases were confirmed locally.

Also since May, Vietnam has doubled the number of infections due to the spread of mutant strains. Of the country’s 63 provinces, 30 have received more than 3,000 new infections in May.

What the outside world was once worried about was that Nguyen Thanh Long, Minister of Health of Vietnam, stated on May 29 that a new variant of a mixture of mutant strains Delta Variant of coronavirus and Alpha was found in Vietnam. The characteristic of this mutant strain is that it spreads very quickly in the air. A few days later, in an interview with Nikkei Asia, WHO’s representative in Vietnam, Piao Qidong, clarified that the newly discovered mutant in Vietnam is a variant of the same lineage of Delta, not a “new hybrid strain”. He emphasized that Delta variant of Covid-19 is still worrying about the epidemic in Vietnam.

Coronavirus Vaccine Centre In Vietnam
In Shah Alam, the capital of Selangor, Malaysia, epidemic prevention personnel are collecting a swab sample from a man. 
Behind it is an anti-epidemic painting created by a local artist. 

Against the mutant strain, vaccinating as soon as possible is the key

“The spread of Delta virus variant of Covid-19 in the UK is out of control, but other countries seem to be at an early stage. In this case, the best response any country can do is to get vaccinated as soon as possible, while increasing daily screening and genomic testing of confirmed cases.” Bloomberg commented.

Anthony Fauci took data from the National Institutes of Health as an example. Two doses of Pfizer mRNA vaccines provide 88% protection against Delta infection; two doses of AstraZeneca adenovirus vaccines provide 60% protection. For these two vaccines, only one dose is given, and the preventive effect is 33%.

On June 8, the “Financial Times” quoted British Health Secretary Matt Hancock as saying that a retrospective study found that 126 of the country’s 12,383 Delta-infected patients required hospitalization. Among them, 83 people were not vaccinated, and only 3 people received 2 doses of the vaccine. Based on this data, it can be calculated that the protective effect of 2 doses of vaccination on Delta variant of Covid-19 is about 95%. The article did not specify the type of vaccination. Since then, real-world studies by the Department of Public Health of the United Kingdom have shown that the effective rate of Pfizer/Bintech mRNA Covid-19 vaccine against Delta infection is 87.9%.

“Vaccination can effectively prevent the variant strain from causing severe illness and reduce deaths.” On June 10, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi stated that it started a study with 63 people infected after vaccination. Among them, 10 were vaccinated with the AstraZeneca adenovirus vaccine produced in India, and 53 were vaccinated with the inactivated vaccine produced in India. Virus genetic testing was conducted on 36 of them, and 23 people were found to be infected with Delta, accounting for 63%. Of these 36 people, 19 received only one dose of the vaccine, and the rest completed both doses. The results showed that 63 people experienced 5-7 days of high fever, but no severe illness or death.

Singapore’s real-world data also proves this point. The country officially approved and widely vaccinated are two mRNA new coronavirus vaccines. Analysis shows that among the confirmed cases of infection after two doses of vaccination, 99.2% were asymptomatic or mildly ill, 0.8% needed oxygen support, and the rate of admission to intensive care was 0. Among the unvaccinated infected people, 1% were admitted to intensive care, and 0.8% died.

Thailand, is vaccinating Buddhists
On April 9, 2021, a health worker in Bangkok, Thailand, is vaccinating Buddhists with AstraZeneca adenovirus. 

At present, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, etc. are all stepping up vaccine procurement and vaccination speed. Malaysia has purchased 5 kinds of vaccines, saying that 80% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of October.

In order to speed up the acquisition of vaccines, Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc sent letters to US President Biden and Russian President Putin respectively. On June 3, the country confirmed the purchase of 20 million doses of the Russian “Satellite 5” new crown vaccine. Russia will transfer the technology to the Vietnamese pharmaceutical company Vabiotech, which may start producing the vaccine in July this year, with the goal of producing 5 million doses per month.

“I was one of the members of the first research group that reported the pedigree of the mutant strain B.1.617 and pointed out its risk… I have been asking myself, is there any way to predict the danger earlier and track and limit the mutation more quickly? Strains spread?” On June 1, Anurag Agrawal published an article in Nature, reflecting on the devastating attack Delta variant of Covid-19 caused to India and related enlightenment.

He said that when many countries are facing a shortage of vaccines, computer models may be used to simulate various possible variants and find the ones that are most easily transmitted in order to prepare in advance. At the same time, the screening of infection cases and the sequencing of virus genes should be strengthened and accelerated to shorten the confirmation time of new variants.

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