“Delta Plus” – A New mutation of Delta Variant

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In CNBC, Holly Ellyatt writes that a newly-discovered mutation of the delta variant (formerly known as AY.4.2), also tentatively dubbed as “Delta Plus” is being investigated in the U.K.

Maria Cheng of AP News writes that because the new variant has not yet been classified as “variant of interest or concern” it has not yet received an official Greek alphabet letter, like the other worrisome variants.

AY.4.2, which some are calling “Delta Plus“, contains mutations that might give the virus survival advantages. Tests are under way to understand how much of a threat it may pose.

BBC News

According to the AP News, scientists are “keenly monitoring the delta-related variant to see if it might spread more easily or be more deadly than previous versions of the coronavirus.”

Quoting British health officials, Holly Elliot writes “But they have stated that they are monitoring the mutation very closely: it now accounts for 6% of U.K. Covid cases that have been genetically sequenced at a time when infections in the country are rising rapidly”.

Delta Mutation: Key Points
  • A newly-discovered mutation of the delta variant is under investigation in the U.K.
  • There are worries that it could make the virus yet more transmissible, and could possibly undermine Covid-19 vaccines further.
  • Still, there are many unknowns surrounding this new descendent of the delta variant and it has not been dubbed a “variant of concern” yet.

Source: CNBC Website

“This sublineage is currently increasing in frequency, in the week beginning 27 September 2021 (the last week with complete sequencing data), this sublineage accounted for approximately 6% of all sequences generated, on an increasing trajectory. This estimate may be imprecise … Further assessment is underway.”

– U.K.’s Health Security Agency (source: CNBC News)

Commenting on “Delta plus”, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reportedly told ” … in particular the AY.4.2 variant has drawn some attention in recent days. We have, on occasion, identified this sub lineage here in the United States, but not with recent increase frequency or clustering, to date.”

Discovery of new variants is of course important to monitor, but it doesn’t indicate that that new variant is going to be the next one to replace delta.

– Andrew Pollard, head of the Oxford Vaccine Group (source: CNBC News)

Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s technical lead on COVID-19, reportedly told at a public session that “the delta variant remains ‘by far the most dominant variant in terms of global circulation‘ and … currently tracking 20 variations of the delta variant. The AY.4.2 is ‘one to watch because we have to continuously keep an eye on how this virus is changing‘ “.

Dr. Danny Altmann, a professor of immunology at Imperial College London, told CNBC “the subtype needs to be monitored and, so far as possible, carefully controlled. Because delta has now been the dominant mutant in several regions for some six months and not been displaced by any other variants, the hope has been that delta perhaps represented [the] peak mutation performance achievable by the virus. AY.4 may be starting to raise doubts about this assertion.”

Coronavirus-19 vaccination watch

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID vaccination tracker page (as of October 22, 9 a.m.) 501,613,665 doses have been distributed and 411,963,025 doses administered. According MDH COVID-19 Response vaccine data (as of October 20) a total of 6,770,883 doses of Covid-19 (Pfizer & Moderna) vaccines have been administered in Minnesota. According to the MDH latest tally (as of October 22) the confirmed COVID-19 cases in Minnesota are 770,246 (out of 13,352,583 tested) with 8,4537 deaths.