New Delhi: Dr. NK Arora, Co-Chair of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) has said that B.1.617.2, which is known as delta variant of coronavirus, spreads around 40-60 faster compared to the alpha variant.
Dr Arora, who is the chairman of the COVID-19 working group of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI), said the delta variant, which was first identified in India in October 2020 and was primarily responsible for the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The country accounts for more than 80 percent of the new COVID-19 cases today.
“It has a prevalence of around 40-60 per cent more than its predecessor (alpha variant) and has spread to more than 80 countries including UK, USA, Singapore etc,” said Dr Arora.
When asked whether the delta variant causes more severe disease than the other variants, the NTAGI chief finds it difficult to say that the disease caused by the delta variant is more severe as the age profile and the second wave of COVID-19 in India The deaths during the first wave were similar to those seen during the first wave.
Dr Arora confirmed that the COVID-19 vaccines available in India are effective against the delta variant, which can be seen as a big relief.
Currently, doses of Covaxin, Covishield, Sputnik V vaccines are being administered in India, while US-based pharma company Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for emergency use authorization for itscoronavirus vaccine.