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Covid-19 Delta variant first found in India, spreads to UK and Australia | India News

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NEW DELHI: The Delta variant of Covid-19 that first appeared in India has now been detected in the UK and Australia, with both countries seeing a sharp increase in new infections over the past week.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had declared on June 1 that only one strain of Covid-19 variant B.1.617 found in India is a variant of concern (VoC). The strain, B.1.617.2, was named Delta variant.
Three strains of variant B.1.617, which was found for the first time in India, have been detected: B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.
The WHO had declared all three strains of B.1.617 as VoC in the second week of May. However, now the WHO has downgraded B.1.617.1 or the Kappa variant as a Variant of Interest (VoI). Since very few reports of the B.1.617.3 strain emerged, it has not even been considered a VoI.
Delta variant could be responsible for second wave in India

  • The Delta variant, which is “more infectious” than the Alpha variant, is the “primary cause” behind the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).
  • The variant B.1.617 and its lineage B.1.617.2 (Delta) were the main responsible for the increase in cases with high transmissibility of 50 percent more than the variant Alpha (B.1.1.7), according to the study.
  • The Delta variant is present in all states of India, but it has infected people mainly in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha and Telangana, which were the most affected in the second increase.
  • The study also states that the role of the Delta variant in more deaths and severity is unproven.
  • Genomic variants of various viruses are a natural phenomenon and are found in almost all countries.

Delta now dominates VoC in the UK

  • The Delta variant has now become the variant of dominant concern (Voc) in the UK.
  • Health officials in Britain have said that Delta may also have a higher risk of hospitalization compared to the Alpha VoC that was first detected in Kent, England.
  • According to Public Health England (PHE), which oversees all COVID-19 variants in the country, Delta variant infections increased by 5,472 in one week to reach a total of 12,431 on June 3.
  • The latest statistics have led experts to conclude that Delta is closing in to overtake Alpha.
  • Most of the patients infected with the Delta variant had not been vaccinated, PHE said.
  • The areas most affected by the Delta variant remain in North West England with Bolton, where cases increased from 795 to 2,149. In Blackburn, Darwen had 368 new cases, bringing his total to 724.
  • However, the PHE said there are “encouraging signs” that the transmission rate in Bolton has started to fall.

Delta VoC found in Melbourne, Australia

  • The Australian city of Melbourne has detected two Variants of Concern (VoC) that were first found in India, namely Kappa and Delta.
  • While Kappa is said to be responsible for the latest spike in cases, Victoria state authorities said on Friday they have detected Delta VoC for the first time in Melbourne.
  • Victoria State Health Director Brett Sutton said the new variant had not been linked to any sequenced Covid-19 infection in Australia since a hotel quarantine or elsewhere.
  • Sutton said it was concerning that it is not linked to other cases, but authorities are pursuing primary cases to see where it could have been acquired.
  • The Delta variant was detected in two members of a family who traveled to the neighboring state of New South Wales (NSW) two weeks ago.
  • Although probably infectious, the two visited various tourist spots. However, NSW, Australia’s most populous state, has not reported any locally acquired cases in a month.

Renaming of Covid-19 variants: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Kappa
The World Health Organization (WHO) renamed five variants of Covid-19 earlier this week by recognizing them using Greek alphabets instead of their country of origin.

  • The VoC that first appeared in Britain and may also be known as B.1.1.7, is now known as the “alpha” variant.
  • The second, which appeared in South Africa and has been named B.1.351, is now known as the “beta” variant.
  • A third variant that first appeared in Brazil will be called the “gamma” variant.
  • Variant B.1.617, which was first found in India, is divided into sub-lineages, of which B.1.617.1 is now known as ‘Kappa’. The B.1.617.2 is now called ‘Delta’.

(With inputs from agencies)



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