The highly contagious delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, also known as B1617.2, was recognized in India in October 2020. It is now the dominant strain in the US and many other countries.
The Doctors of the Therapeutic Clinic of the Medical School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Theodora Psaltopoulou, Giannis Danasis, Panos Malandrakis and Thanos Dimopoulos (Rector of EKPA) summarize the most important basic data for the new executive “delta” of S-2-SARS.
It is transmitted quickly. According to the latest data (August 4, 2021), the “delta” variant has reached more than 130 countries. It has already surpassed the “alpha” variant in the number of COVID-19 cases in many of these countries, including the USA. The variant is believed to be 55% to 90% more contagious than previous variants of SARS-CoV-2.
Researchers are still not entirely sure why the delta variant is so much more contagious than others. They believe that changes in the delta variant protein may facilitate the entry of the virus into human cells. Another early study suggested that a mutation in the delta variant could help the virus combine better with human cells once it attaches. In this way, the virus is able to infect more cells and escape the action of the immune system.
It seems to affect younger people more often. In the United Kingdom, studies have shown that children and adults under the age of 50 are 2.5 times more likely to be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 delta strain.
The symptoms seem to be more intense and appear faster. People may be more likely to end up in the hospital if they have the “delta” variant. Studies suggest that he may be almost twice as likely to be hospitalized as the alpha variant.
The main symptoms of patients with the “delta” strain of SARS-CoV-2 include:
– Sore throat
-Nose runny nose
Cough is reported less frequently and olfactory loss is no longer included in the top 10 most common symptoms. Researchers are concerned that individuals may confuse the symptoms with a common cold and avoid quarantine, which may help the delta strain to spread.
How to protect ourselves
Vaccination is the best prevention measure. According to the available data, the two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provide 79% protection against infection with the “delta” variant of SARS-CoV-2. It is also particularly important that it provides 96% protection against the need for hospitalization if a vaccinated person becomes infected with the new strain. Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are 92% effective in preventing hospitalization due to delta strain infection.