The Delta variant which is considered to be a highly transmissible COVID-19 variant first identified in India, as a “variant of concern,” has been also classified by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A statement issued by the CDC said, “The B.1.1.7 (Alpha), B.1.351 (Beta), P.1 (Gamma), B.1.427 (Epsilon), B.1.429 (Epsilon), and B.1.617.2 (Delta) variants circulating in the United States are classified as variants of concern. To date, no variants of high consequence have been identified in the United States.”
The Delta variant shows increased transmissibility, said CDC and it also showed a potential reduction in neutralisation by some monoclonal antibody treatments under emergency authorisation and potential reduction in neutralization from sera after vaccination in lab tests.
The CDC had earlier considered the Delta variant to be a variant of interest and the World Health Organization has classified the Delta variant as a variant of concern on May 10.
However, the strains of the virus that the scientists believe to be more transmissible or can cause more severe disease, hence the variant is designated as a variant of concern. Vaccines, treatments and tests that detect the virus may also be less effective against a variant of concern.
The CNN report warned that the Delta variant could be the dominant strain in the US within a month. As of June 5, in the US the CDC estimates it accounted for 9.9 per cent of cases. By June 13, it accounted for 10.3 per cent of cases, according to the website outbreak.info, which tracks variants.
Last week, the US President Joe Biden and his Chief Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci cautioned that the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus is highly transmittable, which is now the leading strain in the United Kingdom, spreading rapidly among young people between 12 and 20 years old.
Amid the declining cases of COVID-19 over the last few months in the United States, there’s concern that could change as the pace of vaccinations slows and the Delta variant spreads.
The US, the worst hit country by COVID-19 pandemic, has so far reported 33,498,155 confirmed cases and 600,649 deaths