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Monday, August 2, 2021

What makes DELTA VARIANT so different from other Covid strains?

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Top five symptoms of Delta Variant seen in vaccinated and unvaccinated people.

Viruses transform over time, and the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is no exception. Hence, since January 2020, when covid-19 began to make the population of Wuhan, in China, sick and the disease was known rather as a “mysterious pneumonia” in the absence of scientific data to explain what was happening in the country, the World Health Organization (WHO) monitored and evaluates the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 by classifying variants of the virus into categories according to whether they are variants of interest (VOI) or variants of concern (VOC).

Today, the category of variants of covid-19 of concern is made up of four strains: the Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta variants. Although each of them has its scientific nomenclature to determine its lineage, a group of experts convened by the WHO was responsible for baptizing them with names that were easy to pronounce and “did not generate stigmas” pointing to the geographical place where the variant was originally detected.

In the list of these variants that are associated with “significant” changes in transmissibility, virulence or decrease in the effectiveness of social measures that prevent covid-19 infections is variant B.1.617.2, which was first documented in India in October 2020, and which is better known as the Delta variant.

This variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus became a cause for concern in May 2021 as it spread to other countries and settled mostly in the UK followed by the US.

Symptoms different from the classics

About the symptoms that have been related to the Delta variant, according to what is known so far about this variant, it is believed that “the symptoms are milder and similar to those of a severe cold“, as explained by the Zoe Covid Study, a British application in which they monitor covid-19 cases on a daily basis. 

Specifically, there is talk of a runny nose, headache and sore throat as the main signs that can uncover the Delta variant, so it is advisable to be alert to colds to have a diagnostic test and rule out covid-19.

“This variant seems to work differently,” epidemiologist Tim Spector, a professor at King’s College and Zoe’s scientific co-founder, has pointed out for several weeks. 

Taking as a reference the data provided by the users of the ‘app’, Spector indicates that in the United Kingdom the symptoms of covid-19 are not the same as the ‘classic’ since the beginning of May: “Headache is the main symptom, followed by sore throat, runny nose and fever. The fifth symptom is cough and it is the rarest and the ‘top ten’ of symptoms does not even include loss of smell or anosmia”.

As advised by the epidemiologist in a video posted on YouTube, if you have a bad cold or the like, it is preferable to isolate yourself for a few days and take a quick test. If the result is positive, a PCR would be necessary to confirm the infection and thus cut the transmissibility of the virus.

photo by Mark Kerrison/In Pictures via Getty Images

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