What is the “Delta variant of Covid-19”?

What is the news?

As per a study carried out by INSACOG (the consortium of labs undertaking genome sequencing in India), Delta variant of Covid-19 is the primary cause of the second Covid-19 wave gripping the country presently.

What is the Delta Variant of Covid-19?
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has named B.1.617.1 variant as ‘Kappa‘ and B.1.617.2 variant as ‘Delta
    • These variants are sub-lineages of B.1.617 which was detected in India in 2021.
  • This new nomenclature for the various variants of the coronavirus using Greek alphabets was introduced to simplify public discussions and also help remove the stigma from the names.
  • Moreover, WHO has also categorized the Delta variant as a Variant of Concern (VOC).
What is Variant of Concern (VOC)? 

WHO classifies a variant as a VOC when it is associated with

  • An increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in Covid-19 epidemiology or
  • Increase in virulence (Ability to cause severe/life-threatening disease)
  • Decrease in the effectiveness of public health measures or available diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics.
Why is Delta Variant more dangerous than other variants?
  • This variant has multiple mutations that appear to give it an advantage over other strains.
  • The most important advantage is that the mutations may make the strain more transmissible.This will make the delta variant the most dangerous variant yet.
  • One study indicated that the Delta variant may be up to 50% more transmissible than the B.1.1.7 (U.K./Alpha) variant.
What is a mutation?
  • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the virus.
  • In the case of Covid-19, which is a Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.
  • A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.

Source: Indian Express

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