The delta COVID variant of the coronavirus was first discovered in India that led to the second wave of the pandemic in the subcontinent and has now further evolved into the Delta ‘plus’ variant that began to spread in the U.K, U.S, and Australian countries.
How Did the SARS-COV2 Virus Mutate?
The SARS- COV2 virus that created the COVID19 pandemic has mutated into numerous infectious viruses. The table below shows the main reason that led to the mutation:
|Colloquial Name||Variant Name||Cause of Mutation|
|U.K Variant||Alpha (B.1.1.7)||Spike in protein|
|South African Variant||Beta (B.1.135)||Spike in lineage|
|Brazil Variant||Gamma (P.1)||Mutation in receptor binders|
|Indian Variant||Delta (B.1.617.2)||Merging of two mutations|
WHO had recently announced that Greek naming system because:
Viruses are usually named after the location they originated from but in the case of the coronavirus, they are named from the location of the lab that found the variant.
Naming the variant after a location of discovery rather than the location of origin could undermine further research based on ethnicity, race, and several other conditions that could have caused the mutation.
The Greek naming system was adopted to make it easy for the public to understand the difference between the different variants.
Delta COVID and Delta ‘Plus’ Variant
The delta coronavirus is not a new virus. It previously infected birds and livestock, the current B.1.617 virus lineage has three mutations (B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, B.1.617.3) that are currently infecting humans.
The root cause of this mutation is the merging of two or more mutated cells such as:
- D614G a substitution from B.1.614
- T478K a substitution from B.1.478
- L452R a substitution from B.1.452
- P681R a substitution from B.1.681
- E484Q mutation is exclusive for genome B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.3
Symptoms of Delta COVID?
The Delta and Delta Plus variants are:
- More transmissible than the original Wuhan virus
- The youth are more likely to be affected by this variant
- It’s deadlier than the other variants
- The incubation period is the same as any other variant
- Researchers have not found whether this variant infects children or not
Common symptoms of the Delta and Delta Plus COVID variant are:
- Fever, dry cough, sore throat
- Tiredness, aches, and pain
- Conjunctivitis, headache
- Loss of taste or/and smell
- Rashes and discoloration
Immediate hospitalization is required in case of:
- Shortness or difficulty in breathing
- Pain or pressure in the chest
- Movement or speech inhibitions
The Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines have shown beneficial results in controlling the infection and death rate in affected individuals.
The Delta COVID spread in the U.S is not as alarming as it is in other countries given the high vaccination rates. Research is being conducted to study the severity of the Delta ‘plus’ variant and which vaccines are beneficial against it.