Indian nCoV strain spreads to 80 countries, continues to mutate
According to the World Health Organization, the Delta variant, first detected in India, has spread to more than 80 countries around the world.
Many studies have shown the Delta strain to be more contagious than other variants. WHO officials said that some surveys have found that the virus strain causes more severe symptoms. However, experts say more research is needed to confirm that conclusion.
WHO also monitors recent reports of Delta+ strains. "In some of the Delta variants, we've seen one less mutation. So we're looking at all of them," said WHO technical lead Maria Van Kerkhove.
The UK had to delay its reopening to July as the number of patients infected with the Delta strain spiked in the country, accounting for 60% of new cases.
"We can't let that happen in the United States," said the president's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci, as he urged people to get vaccinated, especially young people. Last week in the US only 6% of all cases were Delta variants, but now it is 10%.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Delta strain is a very worrying variant in the US.
This week, WHO also added another strain of SARS-CoV-2, the Lambda variant, to its list of variants of concern. The organization is tracking more than 50 different variants of SARS-CoV-2. But not all strains become a public health threat for inclusion on the official WHO watch list.
The Lambda variant has many mutations in the spike protein that could affect disease transmission, but more research is still needed to fully understand these mutations, Van Kerkhove said.
Scientists in South America (Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Argentina) discovered the Lambda variant thanks to enhanced genome surveillance.