The Delta variant is “scary”. Coronavirus infections drop in Italy, but the Indian variant of the covid (identified as Delta) forces you to keep your guard always very high. The news related to a Lancet study help to further define the picture: the risk of hospitalization for the Delta variant is almost double that of the Alpha variant (English), but two doses of the vaccine still provide strong protection against the mutant, although lower than that against the English variant.
DELTA AND VACCINE VARIANT
According to the data analyzed by the researchers, the Indian variant is the predominant form of pandemic coronavirus circulating in the UK and is believed to be 60% more contagious than the English one. In particular, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine provides 79% protection against this variant, compared to 92% protection with the English variant. For the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, on the other hand, a protection of 60% was found against infections due to the Indian variant, compared to 73% for the English variant.
The Delta variant “worries” precisely the ability of the variant to partially ‘pierce’ the vaccine, highlights Professor Fabrizio Pregliasco. In Italy it already circulates. “The figure so far is low, but it is probably underestimated”, warns Pregliasco: “Now we should be more careful”. The risk, “as I said from the beginning – he remembers – is that in the autumn there will be a rise in infections, a blow from the tail of the virus”.
On the Delta variant “there is a little more than a little fear. I believe that the British authorities have informed the European authorities. And I believe that this variant was, if not the protagonist, at least an important topic of discussion at the G7. Unfortunately he did a few more victims. So much so that the British are re-verifying some opening policies “, says Massimo Galli, director of Infectious Diseases at the Sacco hospital in Milan.
“We – adds Galli – must always remember that the beast turns and that we cannot escape the risks of this variant. It is an unpleasant observation, but someone has to do it”. Professor Roberto Burioni, engaging in the Lancet study, highlights the “efficacy of two vaccine doses in protecting against Delta (Indian) variant infection: Pfizer 79%, AstraZeneca 60%. This variant seems more contagious and capable of causing disease. more serious “.
“The English situation must worry us because we must monitor and ensure that there are no Indian variant clusters, we need careful surveillance that with the current Italian numbers (1.000-1.500 positive) we can sequence all the new infections and check if there is it is the variant “, underlines Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Diseases Clinic of the San Martino hospital in Genoa.
“In Italy we have chosen a slightly different vaccination strategy from the United Kingdom, where they shortened the period between first and second dose. What is happening in the United Kingdom, with the increase in cases linked to the Indian variant, is linked on the one hand to the the fact that most of the population is vaccinated with a single dose and then that some have postponed the second dose a lot. This variant is, however, remember it covered by the vaccines we are using “, he added.
THE ‘MILAN CASE’
Infections are growing in the Milan gym, where ten cases of Covid had been identified in recent days. “There are 2 new positives connected to the same outbreak”, communicates Ats Città Metropolitana, adding that the total therefore rises to “12 cases, all in isolation”. The Health Protection Agency has made “sequencing request for all positives”. “For one case, already communicated, it is a Delta variant – specifies Ats – while for the other 11 laboratory results are awaited”. “Only one case out of 12 was hospitalized – concludes the note – while the others were followed up at home”.
DELTA VARIANT IN GREAT BRITAIN
The data helps to understand the decisions of the British government. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that the restrictions to combat the coronavirus will have to remain in force “a few more weeks to give the NHS time to proceed with vaccinations for the people who need it”. This means that in England, July 19 will be the date on which all the latest restrictions will be lifted.
There have not been so many coronavirus cases in England since March. This was revealed by a new study, published by the BBC and the Independent, which shows that in one county in ten in England there are an average of 100 infections per 100 thousand people. And this is due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant, first diagnosed in India, and now widely present mainly in the North West of England.
In fact, in the week from 2 to 9 June, the English health system had ascertained 37,729 new cases of coronavirus. This is equivalent to 67 cases per 100 thousand people. But now 35 of the 315 counties in England are registered over 100 cases per 100 thousand people, as emerges from the data released by local and national health authorities. The greatest number of infections occurred in the Lancashire and Greater Manchester area.
INDIAN VARIANT, THE ‘CARD’
Discovered for the first time in October in Maharashtra, a state of central-western India, known for the capital Mumbai, the variant is identified as B.1.617. Its main feature is that it has two already known mutations (E484Q and L452R), a union that would be responsible for the dramatic wave that is upsetting India. The mutation identified as L452R corresponds to a modification also identified in the Californian variant (B.1.427) that affects the spike protein and could increase the contagiousness of the coronavirus. The E484Q mutation could instead affect the ability to ‘dribble’ the immune response: therefore, it could lead the coronavirus to be more resistant to antibodies developed after an infection or to circumvent, at least partially, the effectiveness of the vaccine.
At the level of symptoms, the Indian variant seems to have more impact on the body. Coughs, colds, headaches and sore throats, fever, body aches, diarrhea, fatigue and exhaustion – the first signs of coronavirus in people – are usually stronger. And consequently the healing times are also affected.