The hero of the summer is the Indian version, renamed Delta, carrying the same fears and hypotheses experienced with the English version (alpha) since mid-December, but given the good weather and availability of vaccines. , the number of hospitalizations and deaths they are much less serious. In Italy, the number of delta-caused infections rose to 16.8 percent in one month from 4.2 percent of preliminary data from the ISS, but for experts this will be dominant in the short term.
Discovered in October in Maharashtra, a state in central-western India, the variant has been identified as B.1.617. Its main feature is that it has two mutations E484Q and L452R, the latter matching a mutation that has also been identified in the Californian version (B.1.427), which affects the spike protein and is associated with increased infectivity of the coronavirus. Has happened. The E484Q mutation may instead affect its ability to “dribble” the immune response. In fact, according to a health ministry circular, the variant is 40-60 percent more transmissible than alpha and may be associated with a higher risk of hospitalization.
The delta variant is actually a “family”, with two others being less worrisome (they are called kappa) but one under observation (delta plus), distinguished above all by a mutation, K417N, present in the beta variant ( South African). This mutation also affects the spike protein. In general, the symptoms of the Indian type are usually stronger and often the healing time is also affected: cough, cold, headache and sore throat, fever, muscle aches, diarrhea, fatigue and exhaustion.
Heat and vaccines are strengths in the fight against the virus and there is an appeal from many quarters to increase sequencing to identify any outbreaks early. At this time, in many countries, starting with the United Kingdom, cases are rising again and with them are frequent hospitalizations, which although mainly pertain to non-vaccinated youth and those receiving only the first dose. In Israel, the obligation to wear a mask indoors was reintroduced, while a two-week lockdown began in the Sydney metropolitan area.
In Italy, the numbers are currently low and the focus is on vaccination. “It is unacceptable – condemns Matteo Bassetti, director of the Infectious Disease Clinic of the San Martino Hospital in Genoa – that at a time when Italy is home to 1 percent of sequenced cases, we also have to reach 10. Sequencing and genotyping of registered cases especially But the focus is on tracking those coming from abroad ». In fact, according to the report of the European ECDC Center, this variant will determine 70 percent of new infections by the beginning of August and 90 percent of new infections by the end. And there are sequencing and vaccines to deal with it. In the case of the delta variant, above all there are problems for those who still have to receive a second dose of the vaccine, as those who received the first dose can become infected and become ill. The Lancet and now Public Data from a Scottish study in Health England (PHE) say that the first dose of Pfizer prevents delta infection for 33 percent and hospitalization at 94 while for AstraZeneca 33 and 71; numbers improve with the second dose. occurs, because Pfizer against symptomatic disease This increases to 88 percent (-79 percent risk of infection) and 96 percent for hospitalization and 64 (-60 percent risk of infection) with AstraZeneca against symptoms and 92 for hospitalization. For this reason we are trying to accelerate recall, in favor of people over the age of 50, who are at greater risk than younger people. « It is important to make progress with the vaccination campaign as quickly as possible. A single dose of vaccine does not adequately cover, the vaccination cycle must be completed in order to obtain the correct protection”, underlines Franco Locatelli, coordinator of the CTS and President of the CSS.
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