Vaccinated people can get Delta variant remain asymptomatic and become carriers, says WHO

By Lokmat English Desk | Published: July 15, 2021 04:01 PM2021-07-15T16:01:13+5:302021-07-15T16:01:13+5:30

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WHO has made it very clear that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is a variant of concern because it has increased transmissibility.

The Delta variant has been reported in 96 countries and there are a number of factors contributing to increased transmission globally.

Explaining why the world is seeing such a rapid increase in the spread of the Delta variant, WHO’s Dr Maria Van Kerkhove told Science in 5

"We have increased social mixing and increased social mobility, which increases the number of contacts that individuals have. The relaxation or the inappropriate use of public health and social measures. Proven public health and social measures that we know prevent infections, reduce the spread of somebody who is infected with the virus to others and save lives. Another factor is the uneven and inequitable distribution of vaccines."

It is abundantly clear that the world remains largely susceptible to infection, including any variants of concern, including the Delta variant.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) called the Delta variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus “the fastest and fittest.” The US CDC called Delta “a variant of concern”.

People who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 yet are already at risk and even more so from the Delta variant.

In India, people below the age of 18 years are not eligible for COVID-19 vaccines yet and not all adults have been vaccinated so far due to the sheer size of the population, vaccine hesitations and vaccine shortage.

Epidemiologist F Perry Wilson told Yale Medicine that if residents of a certain locality are not vaccinated enough there is a high possibility of the Delta variant spreading very rapidly with hardly any shield to firewall the virus.

On 4 July, Dr Anthony Fauci had told NBC that "it's feasible that a fully vaccinated person can be an asymptomatic carrier of COVID, and potentially transmit the virus, including the more contagious delta variant". The only silver lining is perhaps that Fauci said vaccinated people who get infected have significantly less viral load in their nasopharynx.

On Monday, repeating a similar observation, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the WHO chief scientist, said, “There are reports coming in that vaccinated populations have cases of infection, particularly with the Delta variant. The majority of these are mild or asymptomatic infections.”