There is a new strain of Covid-19 (SARS-CoV-2), the Delta variant in existence. It is new because recently it became a dominant strain among covid-19 patients worldwide. The strain was first identified in India in December which later spread swiftly across India and England as well. This strain of Covid-19 is highly contagious with possibilities of it being severe. As of March this year, the Delta strain reached the shores of the United States and it is now the commonly diagnosed strain among patients infected with Covid-19.
The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, last week, confirmed the presence of the Delta variant in Nigeria. The detection came as a result of a routine travel test for an international traveller conducted at the NCDC National Reference Laboratory, Abuja.
The rapid spread of the Delta strain also known as B.1.617.2 in the United Kingdom has shed more light on its pathological behaviour. In fact Mads Albertsen, a bio-informatician at Aalborg University in Denmark states that; “The data coming out of the UK is so good, that we have a really good idea about how the Delta variant is behaving.
With research ongoing since the advent of the Delta strain in India, December 202, a few facts have been founded.
The Delta strain is more contagious than the other strains in the SARS-CoV-2 family:Delta is spreading half a time (50%) faster than Alpha, which was 50% more contagious than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. Dr Francis Peery Wilson, an Associate Professor of Medicine at the Yale University School of Medicine states that; “In a completely unmitigated environment where no one is vaccinated or wearing masks, it’s estimated that the average person infected with the original coronavirus strain will infect 2.5 other people. In the same environment, Delta would spread from 1 person to maybe 3.5 or 4 other people.” This would indicate that the new strain grows exponentially.
People without vaccination are at risk: A recent study from Public Health England discovered that 75% of people with one covid-19 vaccine shot are less likely to be hospitalized as compared with people who are not vaccinated. 94% of persons with full vaccine dose are less likely to be hospitalized.
Vaccination, the best protection against Delta: As clearly indicated in the second point, getting a full vaccination dose is the best protection against the new covid-19 strain. Currently, in Nigeria, the AstraZeneca by Oxford vaccine is readily available and dispensed to the public. It is also important to note that following the prevention guideline as set by NCDC can be useful in curbing the spread and chance of getting the new strain.
More knowledge: More knowledge about the new strain is still yet to be known. There are questions that are left unanswered. Reports of symptoms being different from the symptoms of the original strains are showing up. It is not founded yet if persons who have been fully vaccinated or have natural immunity from a prior covid-19 infection could be infected with the new strain. Also, there are growing questions about the Delta Plus, a sub-variant of Delta. Delta Plus was reported first in India.
Patched infections: With the rate of people vaccinated in Nigeria as compared to those who aren’t or just have the first dose and also the swift spread of Delta, it is likely to border on a group of people, community, or locality who have a mixed portion of fully vaccinated, half vaccinated, not vaccinated. With much not known about the chances of people [who are fully vaccinated or have developed a high immune resistance] getting infected by the Delta or not, the rate of spread might not be easily determined and as such, it is of great importance that people get the covid-19 vaccine as soon as possible and also adhere to the guidelines as set by the NCDC.
A notable mention would be that, you can check your immunization status using “Neutralizing Antibody Test.”