The highly transmissible B.1.617.2 variant of the Coronavirus, commonly called the Delta variant, is the primary reason for Covid infection among those who have been vaccinated and those who have recovered from Covid in Kerala. In a significant finding made during a genome sequencing study of the virus by the Kozhikode Government Medical College and Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, the Delta variant was found to be resistant to the antibodies generated in the body due to the vaccine or acquired immunity.
Notably, the medical Journal The Lancet warned that older adults may need a third vaccine shot in countries where the ‘Delta’ Covid variant, first identified in India, is prevalent. The team of scientists from the UK also suggests that this variant possibly brings a dual challenge of reduced vaccine efficacy as well as increased transmission.
As per the researchers, increased age was associated with lower antibody activity against B.1.617.2 and B.1.351, which means that older populations in countries where these strains are prevalent may need further booster shots of the vaccine, The Print reported.
Another recent study conducted by scientists of INSACOG and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has also revealed that the Delta variant caused infection in vaccinated people. “B.1.617.2 was over-represented and B.1.1.7 was not even detected in vaccination breakthroughs, suggesting the higher breakthrough risk of B.1.617.2 compared to B.1.1.7,” the study noted.
It is being closely monitored if those who got infected due to the Delta variant in the last two months in Kerala are getting reinfected. This is to identify any further mutations of the Delta variant.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had named the virus ‘Delta’ and categorised it as a variant of concern (VOC). It has said it continues to observe “significantly increased transmissibility” and a “growing number of countries reporting outbreaks associated with this variant”. Several studies determined that the viral load of the Delta variant is much higher and 40 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which triggered the first wave of outbreak.
First identified in India in October, the variant became a pressing worry in recent months across the globe. The public health information shared by the Centre with States said that the Delta variant is present in all states, but has infected people mostly in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Telangana.