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Delta spreads to 60 countries

Thursday, 10 June 2021 | PNS | New Delhi

WHO’s technical lead on Covid-19 Maria Van Kerkhove has said the Delta variant first found in India has now been seen in over 60 countries and is more transmissible than the alpha variant found in the UK.

It is also said to be casting shadow over Australia’s efforts to contain the infections where cases are on rise recently.

Kerkhove blamed “worrying trends of increased transmissibility, increasing social mixing, relaxing of public health and social measures, and eleven and inequitable vaccine distribution around the world.”

In India, the Delta variant of coronavirus is said to be present in all States across the country but has infected people mostly in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Telangana, which were the worst hit in the second wave of the deadly pandemic.  

What is Delta variant?

Scientifically termed as B.1.617.2 of the Covid-19 infections, the Delta variant refers to the merging of two mutations of a virus strain that go on to form a third, super-infectious strain. The B.1.617.2 variant contains mutations from two separate virus variants, namely E484Q and L452R, according to reports. The Delta variant is highly transmissible (50% more than alpha) and has significant immune escape properties.

With the help of genome sequencing and sample testing, the first case of double mutation in India was discovered in Maharashtra.

The “double mutant’ virus or the “Indian variant”, was officially assigned the name “Delta variant” by the World Health Organisation in order to avoid any confusion regarding the same. Hence, the first mutant virus detected in Kent, UK, is now called “Alpha”, whereas the South African and Brazillian Variant are known as ‘Beta’ and ‘Gamma’ respectively.

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