The delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is more infectious and more virulent than the alpha variant first identified in the United Kingdom, according to new research.  The good news is that vaccines still work against it, though somewhat less well, the studies say. “Delta is a much more concerning variant globally, even than the other variants,” said Bill Hanage, associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. As vaccine access moves at a snail’s pace outside of wealthier countries, “much of the world remains extraordinarily vulnerable,” said William Powderly, director of the  Institute for Public Health at Washington University in St. Louis. FILE – People register their names to receive a coronavirus vaccine at a free camp in Kolkata, India, June 14, 2021.The delta variant was first identified in India. It is likely responsible for that country’s explosive outbreak, which has set grim world records for the most deaths per day of any country.  When it spread to the U.K., it overtook the fast-spreading alpha variant in a matter of weeks. Delta now causesFILE – A health worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine at the newly-opened mass vaccination program for the elderly at a drive-thru vaccination center in Johannesburg, South Africa, May 25, 2021.Vaccines still work against it, though not quite as well, the study found. Both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the University of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were about 13% less effective against delta than they were against alpha. Two weeks after the second dose, Pfizer was 79% effective, and AstraZeneca was 60%.  While some vaccinated people may still get sick, they are not likely to get severely ill, FILE – Austin Kennedy, left, a Seattle Sounders season ticket holder, gets the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in a concourse at Lumen Field, May 2, 2021.While nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of vaccine, “lots of the world is going to be facing delta with no such protection,” Hanage said. “It’s really important that those countries that are able to supply vaccines get [them] to those parts of the world that are struggling with [vaccine access] as quickly as possible.” “If we continue to not vaccinate the rest of the world,” Powderly added, “the virus will continue to evolve, and this delta virus could well be the start of something even worse.” 



There are currently no comments.