WHO: Delta COVID-19 Variant Becoming the Main Strain in the World


The World Health Organization (WHO), through its chief scientist, has released a statement stating that the Delta COVID-19 variant is becoming the dominant strain spreading across the globe.

It has been attributed to a massive spike in cases in England and Moscow, and is linked to the outbreak in Melbourne, Australia.

Despite rising vaccination rates, it is also predicted by Germany’s top public health official that the Delta variant would quickly become the dominant strain there.

Along with the US and Fiji, the variant has also reached the shores of our Little Red Dot.

“The Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its increased transmissibility,” said Soumya Swaminathan, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) chief scientist.

Note that the WHO is currently tracking 4 main COVID-19 variants of concern – the alpha (variant from UK), beta (first detected in South Africa), gamma (variant from Brazil) and delta (B1617 variant).

More About the Delta COVID-19 Variant

First identified in India in December of 2020, the Delta COVID-19 variant (B.1.617.2) is only one of the three sub-lineages of the B.1.617 variant.

The other strain of concern – though it’s quickly being replaced by the Delta variant – is the Kappa variant (B.1.617.1).

1. It is highly infectious and is the most transmissible strain so far.

The Delta variant is taking over the world, literally, because of its high transmission rate.

According to Burnett Institute epidemiologist Mike Toole, who is based in Melbourne, “This Delta variant may be up to 50 per cent more infectious than the UK variant, Alpha, so that makes it up to twice as infectious as the original Wuhan strain.”

Another way of looking at it is by looking at the R0 value.

Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Allen Cheng said that the variant from Wuhan had an R0 value of around 2.5, the Alpha variant was about 3.75 and the Delta variant was about 5.

This means that while the Wuhan strain was able to spread to 2.5 people every time it spreads, the Delta strain is able to infect twice that number of people in the same amount of time.

Although this is strictly anecdotal, it is noticed that people infected with the Delta strain tend to infect more of their household members than people with the Alpha strain.

2. It is likely deadlier than the other variants.

More studies are definitely necessary to confirm this, but from what evidence that has been gathered, the Delta variant is attributed to higher hospitalisation rates than the Alpha variant.

3. It is more resistant to vaccines especially if only one dose is given.

Based on the study that was published on 22 May, it reported that AstraZeneca provided 60% effectiveness against the Delta variant, while Pfizer offered 88%.


However, both doses need to be administered to provide such higher percentages of protection.

If only one dose is given, both vaccines are only 33% effective against the Delta variant, which is much lower than the minimum threshold the WHO has for vaccines – 50%.

4. It may be more transmissible among children.

However, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton clarified that since the strain is more infectious in general, this would likely mean that it’s more transmissible among children (besides among adults) as well.

He added that since children aren’t yet vaccinated in most countries around the world, the data obtained regarding this matter might be a bit skewed.

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