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Concerns over Delta Variant: Capable of Infecting Fully-vaccinated Individuals

  A blanket vaccination drive across the globe, the biggest of its kind ever, is considered the only way to prevent the Covid-19 pandemic that is torturing the world. However, even that does not seem enough now. The virus undergoes rapid mutation. Hence, there are reports of changes in its protein structure and function. Consequently, the initial vaccines that came out are reported to be less effective than primarily predicted.

There have been reports of several variants of the Covid-19 virus since its global outbreak. The virus underwent local mutations in countries and then spread across the world, affecting more people. The most virulent among them is B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), and B.1.617.2 (Delta). Most of the problems lie with the latest i.e. the Delta variant, as it has the capacity to evade even the vaccination effects.

Initially, this variant was reported in India, around November-December 2020. The official presence of this variant was confirmed when it was found in the USA in March 2021. The problem with this variant is its high infection rate. The Delta variant is one of the most dangerous versions, spreading alarmingly fast.

Even though India is one of the countries that lead the global vaccine production, the overall vaccination rate in this country is relatively lower. The Indian government is trying its best though, the high population does not make the task easy. Accordingly, the virus spread across the huge population to undergo mutation and come with this fast-flourishing variant. The countries had to reduce the restriction in search of normalcy, this variant escaped India and spread across the USA.

The Delta variant does not discriminate - this is what the immunologists and virologists are claiming now. The commercially available vaccines offer a protective layer, but that is only to a little extent. The unvaccinated are at a higher risk, but even the vaccinated are not free from infection possibilities, the record indicates.

In the USA, more than 95 percent of new cases are from the Delta variant, among which there are a major number of vaccinated patients. The same incident is repeated in the whole world. In the UK, a survey with around 5000 people shows around 23% of patients with the Delta variant, had both their dosages. For Israel, the rate is as high as 60% for the hospitalized people. In Singapore too, there is a high rate of vaccinated people, who have come down with this variant. The only consolation is, the symptoms are milder in the vaccinated people, compared to the unvaccinated.

The major vaccines show a relatively lower efficacy against the Delta version, as reported. In case of Pfizer, the efficacy is 88% only. In case of AstraZeneca, it is as low as 67% in the Delta variant, compared to 74.5% against the Alpha variant.

The Delta variant is a major threat that significantly increases the Covid-19 pandemic impact across the world. It is the most dominant strain on a global scale now. The strain is not fatal on itself. The main danger lies in its ability to spread itself faster than the vaccination rate.

It can put pressure on an already fragile healthcare system when the vaccinated people come down with Covid, thanks to this strain. The world has to move onward and the economic barriers cannot stay in place forever.

Hence, to counter the strain, global collaboration for vaccination is a must. As soon as the majority are vaccinated, it will put a stop to the major mutations. To prevent infection, even vaccinated people need to follow social distance norms along with the masks and other protective gear, when in public. The Delta variant is a warning to us, the worst is yet to pass.



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