How Worrying Is The Delta Variant Of COVID-19? Are Vaccines Effective Against The Variant? Expert Speaks

How Worrying Is The Delta Variant Of COVID-19? Are Vaccines Effective Against The Variant? Expert Speaks

Dr Lancelot Pinto decodes Delta Variant of COVID-19 - how severe is this variant, are vaccines effective against this strain and more
Coronavirus Outbreak, News
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How Scary Is The Delta Variant Of COVID-19? Are Vaccines Effective Against The Variant? Expert SpeaksAn expert decodes Delta Variant of Covid-19

New Delhi: The Delta variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in India, is a cause for global concern with studies showing it is more contagious and resistant to vaccines than other forms of COVID. Banega Swasth India team speaks to Dr Lancelot Pinto, Consultant Pulmonologist and Epidemiologist, Hinduja Hospital to know all about Delta Variant of COVID-19.

How much we know about the Delta variant of COVID-19 and why it is a cause of worry?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: Whenever we talk about variants, we need to ask three questions: one is the transmissibility, which means how soon or fast the virus can spread from one person to another, second is its severity and how bad it can affect people and lastly is the immune escape, which means will the current vaccines or treatment work on the variant or not.

So, when you talk about the delta variant, obviously we know it is more transmissible than any earlier variants. In some instances, it is seen that it is twice as transmissible than the original variants from last year. This time we have seen the whole family getting infected with the virus, last year, it was limited to just one or two persons in the family.

Also Read: Coronavirus Explained: What Are COVID Variants And Variants Of Concern?

Does Delta variant of COVID-19 lead to more hospitalisation and deaths in individuals?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: There is some data from UK that suggest that this variant leads to more hospitalisation but there is no data that proves that this variant leads to more death in people.

If we talk about UK, the study there showed that about 61 % of all their strains are the delta variant. So, in a very short span, it became a leading variant in the UK as compared to the other variants. The general belief, as far as what we know is that it may not lead to more deaths or more mortality.

However, having said that the problem is that the variant is so transmissible, and at one given point it infects a higher number of people, so from those number of people, even if a smaller percentage of people gets the severe disease, then overall that one percentage becomes a huge number because the denominator or the base of that percentage is huge. But if you talk about absolute percentage, we don’t believe that this variant leads to more deaths.

Also Read: Delta Plus Variant Of COVID-19 Is Not Yet ‘Variant Of Concern’, Nullifies Monoclonal Antibody Use: Government

Are reinfections of COVID-19 a cause of concern in Delta Variant?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: If we look at community-level data, we have seen that those who had COVID infection last year didn’t get reinfected with the virus. For example, last year, in Mumbai, we had seen high cases of COVID in slums and this year it was in high-rise buildings, showcasing that reinfection is not a cause of concern.

Are vaccines effective against Delta variant of COVID-19?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: In all probability, if a person has had taken both doses of any COVID-19 vaccine and if he/she contracts the virus – it will be a mild disease and not the severe one.
We have also seen people who had both doses of their vaccines but still got infected with delta variant but again it wasn’t that severe.

What was found in the study, which was done by Public Health England (PHE), who has probably done the largest study – Individuals who had one dose of Covishield vaccine, the efficacy was at 33 per cent, which used to be 50 per cent for other variants. The 33 per cent figure means if 100 individuals are not vaccinated and 100 individuals have received one dose, 77 per cent of those who received even one dose can still get infected. If an individual had taken both the doses of vaccine, the efficacy increases to 64 per cent. But this is for systemic infections.

In severe infections, it was found that person who has had both the doses of Covishield, the efficacy was 92 per cent. Bottom line is that one dose is not enough, in two doses the efficacy is lower than it was supposed to be, but it results in less hospitalisation and zero deaths, which is an important factor.

Also Read: Delta Variant 60 Per Cent More Transmissible, Reduces Vaccine Effect: UK Experts

What is Delta plus variant of COVID-19 and how much do we know about it?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: Delta plus variant or B1617-2 has one amino acid change, which is called K417N, which was also seen in the earlier variants. As of now, what we know is that maybe the new antibody cocktail treatment doesn’t work on this particular variant.

However, having said that, the incident reported of this version are very tiny so we don’t know if it is more transmissible than the other variants or is it more severe.

What will happen now is that researchers will take plasma from people who have been infected with this particular strain and they will then test it against current vaccines and that will give us more knowledge. As of now there is no reason to panic.

Can children get vaccinated against coronavirus at this stage?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: We don’t have any data for children as such for vaccines, maybe we will have data in sometime. The best advice as of now is that people should protect their children by getting everyone around them vaccinated so that they get indirect protection.

Now that we have vaccine can we get back to a normal routine like before? How much risk is reduced against COVID-19 now?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: So, we are not good as of now. Vaccines are not 100 per cent effective as no vaccine has shown 100 per cent efficacy, which means that a larger number of people will still get infected despite getting vaccinations – they will not have moderate to severe disease and will not die but they still can spread the infection to vulnerable section of the society. Therefore, don’t think if we have got vaccine for COVID-19, we can get back to normalcy as of yet. Unless and until we reach a point wherein majority of people are vaccinated and the transmission rate, therefore, cut down, we cannot and cannot get back to where we were before COVID-19 pandemic.

Will third wave of COVID-19 come in India? How should we prepare for it?

Dr Lancelot Pinto: Third wave, most likely will happen, it has happened in many countries in the world. What we need to do best is to get the magnitude of the wave under control and look at how many people develop severe disease and get hospitalised. Currently, the best way to reduce the magnitude of the third wave is to get as many people as possible vaccinated as that will reduce the possibility of people developing severe disease.

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene

World

19,66,15,634Cases
6,33,31,644Active
12,90,85,240Recovered
41,98,750Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 194 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 19,66,15,634 and 41,98,750 have died; 6,33,31,644 are active cases and 12,90,85,240 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 4:07 am.

India

3,15,72,344 44,230Cases
4,05,155 1,315Active
3,07,43,972 42,360Recovered
4,23,217 555Deaths
In India, there are 3,15,72,344 confirmed cases including 4,23,217 deaths. The number of active cases is 4,05,155 and 3,07,43,972 have recovered as on July 30, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

62,90,156 7,242

81,933 3,980

60,75,888 11,032

1,32,335 190

Kerala

33,49,365 22,064

1,55,327 5,287

31,77,453 16,649

16,585 128

Karnataka

29,01,247 2,052

23,277 685

28,41,479 1,332

36,491 35

Tamil Nadu

25,55,664 1,859

21,207 314

25,00,434 2,145

34,023 28

Andhra Pradesh

19,62,049 2,107

21,279 280

19,27,438 1,807

13,332 20

Uttar Pradesh

17,08,373 60

784 16

16,84,834 44

22,755

West Bengal

15,26,539 766

11,300 70

14,97,116 822

18,123 14

Delhi

14,36,144 51

554 19

14,10,541 70

25,049

Chhattisgarh

10,01,781 130

2,086 140

9,86,175 270

13,520

Odisha

9,74,132 1,615

15,276 489

9,53,088 2,039

5,768 65

Rajasthan

9,53,622 17

259 9

9,44,410 26

8,953

Gujarat

8,24,829 27

268 6

8,14,485 33

10,076

Madhya Pradesh

7,91,796 18

130 0

7,81,153 18

10,513

Haryana

7,69,858 30

712 10

7,59,516 17

9,630 3

Bihar

7,24,719 46

481 1

7,14,596 42

9,642 3

Telangana

6,43,716 623

9,188 126

6,30,732 746

3,796 3

Punjab

5,99,005 58

553 6

5,82,162 60

16,290 4

Assam

5,64,030 1,299

14,114 385

5,44,695 1,664

5,221 20

Jharkhand

3,47,105 56

259 22

3,41,720 34

5,126

Uttarakhand

3,41,982 48

669 3

3,33,952 51

7,361

Jammu And Kashmir

3,21,207 181

1,144 5

3,15,686 175

4,377 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,05,728 229

1,098 145

2,01,110 84

3,520

Goa

1,70,900 90

1,077 5

1,66,679 93

3,144 2

Puducherry

1,20,725 98

972 49

1,17,961 49

1,792

Manipur

96,824 1,000

10,895 27

84,408 1,016

1,521 11

Tripura

78,059 271

3,640 221

73,665 488

754 4

Meghalaya

63,745 731

5,750 294

56,933 423

1,062 14

Chandigarh

61,948 5

37 1

61,102 4

809

Arunachal Pradesh

47,477 335

4,252 49

43,000 383

225 1

Mizoram

37,171 764

11,862 252

25,168 511

141 1

Nagaland

27,653 67

1,299 51

25,798 114

556 4

Sikkim

26,132 276

3,297 180

22,498 92

337 4

Ladakh

20,324 4

60 4

20,057 8

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,643 1

36 5

10,603 6

4

Lakshadweep

10,162 7

70 6

10,042 13

50

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,534 3

10 3

7,395

129

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