COVID-19: Delta strain declared highly contagious as new ‘Mu’ variant spreads

 


World Health Organisation (WHO) senior officials, on Tuesday, said the Delta strain remains the top concern in countries.

The experts found that the variant is highly contagious and appearing to “outcompete” others.

Their findings coincide with the emergence of the new ‘Mu’ variant which has spread to 49 states in America.

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO Technical Lead for COVID-19 called the Delta “most concerning” because of the increased transmissibility.

“It’s doubly transmissible compared to the ancestral strain, which means that it can spread to more people”, she said.

Kerkhove added that Delta continued to evolve and scientists were studying to see how the virus might be changing, with new variants coming up.

The official confirmed the proportion of Mu cases in South America was increasing, while numbers are decreasing in countries where the Delta variant is circulating.

Kerkhove said the WHO is seeing a lot of circulation among unvaccinated people but observes positive developments, including a reduction in hospitalisations and deaths among those inoculated against the disease.

Dr. Michael Ryan, Head of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, explained that viruses essentially compete against each other.

Though more COVID-19 variants may emerge, “not every variant means the sky is going to fall in”, Ryan noted

He added that each needs to be looked at for its characteristics in terms of potential to cause more severe disease, transmit and escape vaccines.

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