Delta variant causes more severe courses

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Data from Great Britain and India show that the COVID 19 mutation Delta should be taken seriously: it increases the risk of hospital admissions and is also significantly more infectious than other variants.

Initially discovered in India, the delta variant of coronavirus may be more likely to cause more severe covid-19 disease, according to preliminary findings from Public Health England. “Initial evidence from England and Scotland suggests that there may be an increased risk of hospital admissions than with the alpha variant,” according to a recent risk assessment by Public Health England. Alpha variant is the term used to describe variant B.1.1.7, which was first discovered in the United Kingdom. Some regions showed an increase in hospital admissions, though the national trend cannot yet be estimated, the agency said.

Delta variant dominates in UK
In contrast, there is already clearer evidence that the delta variant is probably significantly more contagious than the alpha variant. Based on various analyses, Public Health England assumes a “substantially increased growth rate” with a high degree of probability. Researchers from the National Centre for Disease Control in New Delhi, among others, assume that the transmissibility is 50 percent higher than with the alpha variant. Accordingly, the delta variant can cause very rapid outbreaks in which even vaccinated persons become infected.

Vaccinations less effective against delta variant
The study said previous infections and incomplete vaccinations were not sufficient to prevent the spread of delta variant, as seen in Delhi. While vaccinations are likely to be effective against the delta mutant, they are probably less efficient than against other variants. However, according to Public Health England, vaccine protection is likely to be significantly better after the second dose with delta than after just one dose – although even then it is likely to be somewhat lower than for the alpha variant, for example. There are still uncertainties with the Astrazeneca vaccine, the agency said.
“Vaccination and especially the second vaccination are essential for protection against the virus mutants,” tweeted Carsten Watzl, secretary general of the German Society for Immunology. “Beta and delta are only then neutralized, as both can otherwise escape the immune response.” Whether the delta variant leads to a higher death rate, however, is as yet unclear, according to the Indian study. In India, the temporary collapse of the health care system could also have led to more deaths.

Sources: ntv.de, jhe/dpa/picture: pixabay.com

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