People sit outdoors at a restaurant in London, England, on June 14.  Photo: AP.

Delta mutation prevents the world from escaping the pandemic


Many countries thought they had escaped from Covid-19 thanks to a large-scale blockade and vaccination strategy, but the Delta strain from India suddenly turned everything upside down.

On June 14, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the plan to lift all restrictions to prevent Covid-19 in the country, which had been set for a long time on June 21, will be delayed for another 4 weeks due to The rapid spread of the Delta variant, now accounts for around 90% of new infections in the UK.

“We understand the extremely cruel logic of this exponential increase,” Prime Minister Johnson said, referring to the skyrocketing number of nCoV infections, adding that delaying the full reopening to July 19. will help save thousands of lives.

The clearest evidence for the cruel rule that the British Prime Minister mentioned is the Covid-19 situation in India. A terrifying wave of epidemics engulfed the country when the Delta variant spread widely, pushing the health system to the point of “breakdown” with about 400,000 infections a day in early May, crematoriums were always red. fire, many bodies were floating in the river.

Although the number of daily new infections in India has decreased after peaking, the number remains alarmingly high, with about 62,000 new cases on June 16.

People sit outdoors at a restaurant in London, England, on June 14. Image: AP.

Last week, US officials said the Delta variant accounted for about 6% of new nCoV infections in the country, while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) added Delta to its list of “remarkable mutations”. fear”. While Delta may not have upset America’s reopening plans, some experts still warn against this strain, given the recent slowdown in vaccination rates.

“If you live in an area with low levels of Covid-19 vaccination, or haven’t been vaccinated yourself, you are clearly vulnerable,” said Andy Slavitt, former senior adviser on Covid-19 response. 19 of the administration of President Joe Biden, said.

The US is predicted to fall short of Biden’s goal of injecting at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to 70% of adults before Independence Day 4/7. This figure is now around 65%. Health experts say that people’s reluctance to vaccinate, along with the emergence of the Delta variant that spreads more quickly, has caused the number of nCoV infections and hospitalizations in some states to increase.

“This is a race between the Covid-19 vaccination campaign for the people and the strains that are and will be raging,” said Dr. Lee Norman, head of the Kansas state health agency, USA.

Speaking at an online meeting on June 16, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Covid-19 technical officer, said the Delta variant has been detected in more than 80 countries. country in the world. Public health experts are also closely monitoring these new mutations.

Commentator Adam Taylor’s Washington Post point out the important issue is nCoV has spread so widely, that there are many opportunities to mutate. WHO is monitoring more than 50 strains. Although most of them are not considered worrisome, there are four strains that are listed as of special concern, including Delta, also known as B.1.617.2.

The Delta variant, first detected in October 2020 in India, is 60% more infectious than Alpha, the variant first detected in the UK, British officials say. Some studies have also shown that the Delta variant leads to greater hospitalizations, although the evidence is still limited.

The good news is that Covid-19 vaccines still protect fully vaccinated people against the Delta mutation. British studies show that both Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines are highly effective against severe disease when given in two doses, with effectiveness rates of 88% and 60% respectively.

However, the effectiveness of both vaccines is reduced to 33% if only one dose is given. This is why countries are campaigning to ensure people get two doses, especially in the UK, where the government has pursued a strategy of delaying the second dose of vaccine.

Although the Delta variant arose through natural mutation, Human factors are thought to have driven the spread of the virus. In the UK, the focus on prioritizing the first dose of the vaccine may have caused the country to receive “bitter fruit”. Many critics also believe that the restriction on entry from India was applied too late by London, stemming from political motives, giving the Delta strain the opportunity to penetrate and spread.

In India, the rapid spread of the Delta mutation in the spring was attributed to the government’s slow relaxation of restrictive measures and vaccination. Even today, India has only fully vaccinated 3.5% of the population, partly due to vaccine supply problems.

“The Delta mutation has slowed the world’s path out of the pandemic. The UK is probably not the first country to pause reopening, instead turning to accelerating vaccination in the hope of overcoming the challenge,” Taylor said. identify.

This commentator raised the issue of the need for a broader discussion, not only about how to deal with the Delta mutation within the territories of countries in the short term, but also about the plan to control the virus from spreading globally. and prevent even worse strains from appearing in the first place.

The number of nCoV infections is increasing in many parts of the world. The WHO said that across Africa, the number of weekly infections has increased by 44%. Meanwhile, the continent received less than 2% of the world’s Covid-19 vaccine supply, as of May.

At the last G7 summit, rich countries pledged to do more to share about a billion doses of vaccine with the world. However, not many experts think that’s enough to close the gap. This condition threatens to create even more devastating mutations than Delta.

“We don’t want to fall into a situation where the virus mutates to the point of having to go back to the starting point. That’s why we need to prevent Covid-19 infection as much as possible right now,” WHO official Van Kerkhove said. know.

Luster (According to the Washington Post, AP)

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