What is the Delta variant? The Delta variant, also known as lineage B.1.617.2, is a version of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. It was first detected in India late last year and contains mutations in the gene that codes for the spike protein which the virus uses to enter cells in the body.
At a recent White House briefing on COVID-19 –
“The Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the U.S. to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19.”
A major concern right now is Delta, a highly contagious (and possibly more severe) SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, which was first identified in India in December. It then swept rapidly through that country and Great Britain as well, which has led to rising numbers of infections and deaths. The first Delta case in the United States was diagnosed a couple of months ago (in March) and now cases here are rapidly multiplying.
Inci Yildirim, MD, PhD, a Yale Medicine pediatric infectious diseases specialist and a vaccinologist, isn’t surprised by what’s happening.
“All viruses evolve over time and undergo changes as they spread and replicate.”
But one thing that is unique about Delta is how quickly it is spreading, says F. Perry Wilson, MD, a Yale Medicine epidemiologist. Around the world, he says,
“Delta will certainly accelerate the pandemic.”
From what we know so far, people who are vaccinated against the coronavirus appear to be safe from Delta, but anyone who is unvaccinated and not practicing preventive strategies is at risk for infection by the new variant, the doctors say.
WHO You Tube Video – What do we know about the Delta variant so far? How can we assess our risk? WWhat strategies should we apply to protect ourselves whether we are in a low vaccination or high vaccination setting? WHO’s Dr Maria Van Kerkhove explains in Science in 5.
Is the sky falling?
- In the United States “Chicken Little” is a folk tale with a moral in the form of a cumulative tale about a chicken who believes the world is coming to an end.
- The phrase “The sky is falling!” features prominently in the story, and has passed into the English language as a common idiom indicating a hysterical or mistaken belief that disaster is imminent.