| 4 March 2024, Monday |

Delta variant reported in 85 countries globally, expected to become dominant lineage, warns WHO

Alpha, Gamma and Delta, the three new mutants of Covid-19 are spreading all over the world, but it is expected that the Delta variant will become the dominant lineage, warns the World Health Organization.

As per the COVID-19 Weekly Epidemiological Update released on June 22 by the WHO, the variant Alpha has been reported in 170 countries, territories or areas, Beta in 119 countries, Gamma in 71 countries and Delta in 85 countries.The Delta variant continues to be reported in new countries across all WHO Regions, 11 of which were newly reported in the past two weeks.

The WHO said the four current ‘Variants of Concern’ being monitored closely Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta – are widespread and have been detected in all WHO regions.

As per the update, India reported the highest numbers of new COVID19 cases, 441,976 over the past week. However, there was a decrease of 30 per cent as compared with the previous week.

The South-East Asia Region reported over 600,000 new cases and over 19,000 new deaths. There was a 21 per cent and a 26 per cent decrease respectively compared to the previous week.

The WHO claims that since the last detailed update on June 8, new evidence has been published on the phenotypic characteristics of the Delta variant. A study from Singapore revealed that infection with Delta variant was associated with higher odds of oxygen requirement, intensive care unit (ICU) admission, or death. Another study in Japan “estimating the relative instantaneous reproductive number (a measure of transmission at a specific point in time) showed that the Delta variant was associated with greater transmissibility” when compared to the Alpha variant.

Delta has the potential “to be more fatal because it’s more efficient in the way it transmits between humans,” according to Dr Mike Ryan, the executive director of WHO’s health-emergencies programme, who spoke at a Monday news conference.

He said the Delta variant “will eventually find those vulnerable individuals who will become severely ill, have to be hospitalised, and potentially die.”

World leaders and public health professionals, according to Ryan, can help protect the most vulnerable by donating and disseminating Covid vaccinations.