World Health Organization Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Friday said that the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which was first identified in India, is becoming the globally dominant variant.
“The whole [coronavirus] situation is so dynamic because of the variants that are now circulating, and as you [reporter] said, the delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly increased transmissibility,” Swanithan said.
The WHO official made the statement while responding to a question about reports on Covid-19 vaccine Sinovac failing to prevent hospitalisation among healthcare workers in Indonesia as the jab had “limited efficacy” against the delta variant.
Swaminathan said the health body needs more data from well-conducted studies on the efficacy of vaccines used in different countries against the various strains that have emerged. She said that the WHO has a special expert group to track the effectiveness of the vaccines against different variants.
“This also means that countries need to do sequencing side by side with documenting vaccine effectiveness,” Swaminathan said. “We need to expand sequencing.”
The Delta variant, which has been classified as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization, was responsible for the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India, a government study showed earlier in June. The variant has led to a surge in cases in the United Kingdom too, accounting for the majority of the new infections. The country’s health body Public Health England has found the strain to be 60% more transmissible in households than the Alpha variant, first detected in Britain’s Kent county.
Germany’s senior health official has also predicted that the Delta variant would rapidly become the dominant variant in the country despite a rising vaccination rate, reported the Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, India reported 62,480 new coronavirus cases on Friday, taking its overall count of infections since the pandemic broke out in January 2020 to 2,97,62,793. The number of deaths rose by 1,587 to 3,83,490. The daily toll is the lowest in two months. Active cases fall below 8 lakh.
Globally, the coronavirus disease has infected over 17.75 crore people and killed more than 38.44 lakh since the pandemic broke out in December 2019, according to Johns Hopkins University.