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Most Infectious Delta Variant Behind Second Wave, Study Says | India News


NEW DELHI: Delta variant or strain B.1.617.2, first detected in India, is more infectious than Alpha or B.1.1.7 variant, first detected in UK, and is also the reason behind the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, reveals a study conducted by a team of scientists from different Indian institutions.
“Our data indicates that B.1.617.2 shows high transmissibility and sudden increases without any increase in the fatality rate (CFR). We estimate that the transmissibility is up to 50% higher than B.1.1.7. The viral load of B.1.617.2 appears to be higher than that of B.1.1.7, ”their study said in its conclusion.
The scientists noted that B.1.617.2 is capable of creating “very fast rising outbreaks”, especially with “advances in vaccination” (infections after vaccination). “We reiterate that previous infections, high seropositivity and partial vaccination are insufficient impediments to its spread, as seen in Delhi, and a strong global public health response will be needed to contain them,” the study said.
The study was conducted by scientists from the National Center for Disease Control, Institute for Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB), SARS-CoV-2 Indian Genomic Consortia (INSACOG), and others.
For the study, samples were obtained from 10,427 adults, of which 1,399 samples were from Delhi-based laboratories and offices in Phase 1 and 9,918 samples were obtained of which 1115 samples were from Delhi in Phase 2.
On the origin of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks in northern India this year, the study noted that the April outbreak in Delhi was preceded by outbreaks in Kerala, Maharashtra and Punjab.
“While no Variants of Concern (VOC) were identified in Kerala in January 2021, the outbreak in Maharashtra has been linked to B.1.617.1 and in Punjab to the introduction of B.1.1.7,” he said.
So the B.1.617 lineage of CoV-2 was first reported from Maharashtra and later seen in other states like Delhi, Gujarat, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal.
The scientists said that the increase in SARS-CoV2 infections in Delhi is best explained by the introduction of a new highly transmissible VOC, B.1.617.2, with probable immune-evading properties; insufficient neutralizing immunity despite high seropositivity; and social behavior that promoted transmission.

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