The latest ‘variants of interest’ report reveals that the new lineage accounts for 2.5% of sequenced positives
Delta Plus begins to spread strongly throughout various parts of Spain. The Ministry of Health, in its latest report on ‘variants of interest’, published mid-afternoon this Monday, acknowledges that up to 35 cases of this new lineage have already been located in 5 different communities, a subtype of the Delta strain that appeared for the first time in the UK last July, which is up to 15% more contagious than the strain originating in India and which all experts point to is behind the strong rebound in incidence among the British population.
Health reveals that Spain notified Gisaid (the global virus genomic database) in week 41 (from October 11 to 17) 35 cases of the AY.4.2 variant. The sequences were in Catalonia (26), Castilla-La Mancha (3), Castilla y León (2), Madrid (2), Valencian Community (2). “The percentage that (Delta Plus) represents with respect to the total number of sequenced cases in Spain is for the moment low but there is an upward trend in recent weeks”, acknowledges the report, which reveals that in week 39 (of September 27 to October 3) the percentage was 1.5% and that in week 40 (from October 4 to 10) it climbed to 2.5%.
These data, however, are already out of date, as recognized by Health officials on Monday, since the dump of sequencing in the bases is being delayed for more than a week. In fact, shortly before the publication of the update of the ‘variants of interest’, the Government of Extremadura reported this Monday that 3 of the 60 samples sequenced in week 40 (from October 4 to 10) were of the new lineage . And that data does not appear in the Gisaid database yet.
Be that as it may, the report of the Ministry of Health recalls that “according to the analysis carried out in England, the advantage (Delta Plus) in the rate of growth with respect to other lineages could correspond to an increase of 10-15% in the transmissibility of the virus “However, Health experts acknowledge that” it is still too early to ensure that this is the reason for the observed increase. ” “Other factors such as epidemiological circumstances that could have favored the expansion of this lineage or the possibility that there was some degree of evasion of the immune response are still being studied”, points out the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES). referring to the fact that the strong upturn in cases in the UK is also likely to be related to low vaccination rates or the relaxation of protective measures.
While waiting for the microbiology laboratories of the ministries to start transmitting more data, the Ministry of Health is convinced that Plus is already spread over many territories. In particular, CCAES experts fear that this new Delta mutation has settled particularly in the Community of Valencia.
In fact, in the CCAES they are convinced that the outbreaks that have led Benidorm to enter ‘extreme risk’ last Friday (by exceeding 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days) are caused by the emergence of AY .4.2 hand in hand with British mass tourism. The truth is that, according to Health data, the United Kingdom is the second importer of cases to Spain with 171 positives detected in recent weeks, when three months ago they did not reach 50.
Since Plus cases began to be detected in the UK in July, the epidemiological situation has worsened significantly. If at the end of June the British Isles reported just over 20,000 new infections a day and less than 300 cases of cumulative incidence, now the United Kingdom has more than 50,000 new infections a day and an AI that is close to 900 positive.
Fernando Simón insisted on Monday that we must “follow very carefully” the evolution of this new mutation, although he called for calm. In Spain we know that there are some cases but for now it is not taking up space; We will see what happens in the coming weeks “, said the director of CCAES. Simón explained that the existence of this mutation “has been known for a long time” and specified that the problem with this lineage is that its emergence in places like the United Kingdom has been associated with relaxation of measures, along with “great global mobility.”
Simón clarified that “the key point” is not so much whether the variant “is a little more or less transmissible” than others, but whether with the measures that are being applied and with the vaccination “we have enough to control it or not.”