The delta (or Indian) variant scares Europe and even Italy, after causing an increase in cases in Great Britain. “It is worrying but we can prepare ourselves and overcome the impact it will have. However, we need to rush with the completion of the vaccination cycle and also immunize adolescents”. To make the point for Adnkronos Health is the immunologist Mauro Minelli, responsible for the South of the Italian Foundation of Personalized Medicine
The delta variant (B.1.617.2D) “is a strain of the new coronavirus which, in the autumn of 2020, was identified for the first time in India. It is characterized by partial resistance to vaccines – he explains – although not immediately perceived due to various confounding factors that in the Indian state, decimated by over 400 thousand cases a day, made a precise analysis of the phenomenon decidedly difficult “.
“The full characterization of the delta variant was possible with its spread in England, which allowed an in-depth study and a more complete verification of the mutated virus – recalls Minelli – It was thus possible to know that this variant is 60% more transmissible than Alpha variant (new definition of the better known ‘English’ variant) which, in turn, was 60% more transmissible than the original Wuhan strain. It is clear that all this – he underlines – can provide Sars-CoV-2 with an important advantage in terms of diffusion and aggressiveness. The potential danger of the delta variant – he continues – is basically linked to its moderate resistance to vaccines, especially in subjects vaccinated with a single dose, as far as possible even in those who have received both doses “.
British data published last May reported that subjects vaccinated with double dose of Pfizer protect against Delta at 88% (against 93% for the Alpha variant), compared to 60% protection attributed to the AstraZeneca vaccine which protects 66% against Alpha – warns the immunologist – It’s okay to loosen the restrictions for now by not imposing extreme limits again. It is okay to keep bars and restaurants open to those who have received vaccines or have had negative results from recent swabs. But it will always be better to bring a mask with you so that you can wear it whenever conditions are created for a gathering (queues, markets, rallies, public transport). Just as it will always be the case to provide for the use of the protective device for fragile and immunosuppressed subjects and for those who accompany them “.
“In Italy, the overall picture related to the delta variant seems to be fine for now, also because the situation appears to be adequately monitored. But it can change rapidly, as has happened in England where cases related to the delta variant double approximately every 11 days. – he observes – However, what emerges from the data published in England is that people immunized with a double dose of vaccine reinfected by the Delta variant would be more than 90% less likely to be hospitalized “.
For Minelli “it is absolutely important to proceed in time with the full vaccination of adolescents in the meantime because, even with lower levels of severity, children get sick like adults. This is why they are a significant source of spread of the virus in the various environments they frequent. , among which above all the school which, next autumn, should not be a problem as it was in the past school year “.
And finally “implement the sequencing of positive swabs with the aim of quickly identifying any new emergencies represented by variants and sub-variants which – he concludes – having the possibility of escaping immunizations induced by vaccines in progress, can always represent an impending danger and not immediately controllable”.