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What’s Different About the Delta Variant?

Health officials around the world are adjusting their plans for combating the coronavirus pandemic in light of the more infectious Delta variant, including concerns that even vaccinated people can contract and spread it. In the United States, for example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is once again recommending that everyone, including those who are vaccinated, wear masks indoors in high-risk areas. Many wonder “will the effectiveness of existing COVID vaccines be impacted by new COVID variants?” Let’s discuss the common questions surrounding the Delta variant and how it is different from the other variants we’ve seen so far. 

What’s different about the Delta variant?

The Delta variant has multiple mutations that appear to give it an advantage over other strains. Its most important advantage is its higher transmissibility — the Delta variant is  roughly 40%-60% more contagious than the original Alpha strain of the coronavirus which originated in Wuhan, China. The viral load (aka number of virus particles) in people infected with Delta is roughly 1,000 times higher than in people infected from previous versions of the coronavirus, according to a study published in the journal Nature. 

Do we know the Delta variant death rate? Unfortunately, there have been no reports from the CDC about the Delta variant death rate. However, one early study assessing the risk of hospital admission in Scotland reported that hospitalization is twice as likely in unvaccinated individuals with Delta than in unvaccinated individuals with Alpha. It is difficult to determine whether Delta is actually making people sicker than previous forms of the virus or if it is simply circulating amongst more vulnerable populations where case numbers are high. Regardless, vaccination rates are low and increased stress on hospital systems is impacting patient care and disease outcomes. What is clear is that the majority of hospitalizations and COVID-19-associated deaths from the Delta variant in the U.S. are occurring in unvaccinated people.

Does the vaccine protect against the Delta variant?

Now let’s discuss the Delta variant covid vaccine efficacy. Research continues to indicate that full vaccination provides protection against the Delta variant. All three COVID-19 vaccines are particularly effective at preventing serious illness or death from the strain, but appear to be slightly less effective at stopping infection completely.

The current COVID-19 vaccine provides systemic immunity, meaning all the inner organs of your body―the lung, kidney, liver―are protected. However, they don’t provide local immunity, that is, immunity for the nose and throat. Since the nose and throat are predominantly where the virus gets in, the Delta variant replicates in those areas and takes hold even if a person is vaccinated.

To maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.

Is the Delta strain dominant in the U.S.?

Yes, the Delta variant has quickly become the dominant strain in the U.S., overtaking the Alpha variant, which has been the most prevalent COVID strain in the States for months. By July 7, 2021, the Delta variant accounted for more than 51% of sequenced COVID cases in the U.S., up from 1.3% in early May and 9.5% in early June. By July 20, 2021, Delta accounted for an estimated 83% of new sequenced cases.

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If you are searching for reliable COVID-19 testing with a quick turnaround, look no further than BioCollections Worldwide. We are proud to be a trusted resource for hundreds of thousands of people through this global crisis, with over 280,000 tests administered since we first developed our test for SARS-CoV-2. Our COVID-19/flu panel includes testing for the Delta strain and all variants of flu at no additional cost. Contact BioCollections Worldwide to schedule a comprehensive COVID-19 test today, knowing that you are in experienced hands.

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2 thoughts on “What’s Different About the Delta Variant?

  1. I had COVID positive the 26 of Aug. I had fusion shots that same day. I had vaccines in February and March. I got a negative test September 9 I started feeling bad. On 10th I started getting chills and fever felling really bad. Horrible weekend Aching and hurting couldn’t get out of bed. Monday dr says flu. The girl I work with I where I contacted the COVID is in the bed same way. She went back to the doctor he told her sinus infection gave her a shot.. I think this is a result of our COVID..

  2. Myself and my husband were
    Vaxed with Moderma in March and April. 3 weeks ago we got the DELTA view us. My husband was hospitalized 2 times for this and is still on oxygen. Will he get better?

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