Highly Contagious Delta COVID-19 Variant ‘Poised to Take Hold’ of Europe, WHO Official Says

The Delta COVID-19 variant, otherwise known as B.1.617.2, was first detected in India and has recently been responsible for the surge in novel coronavirus cases across parts of the United Kingdom. To date, over 90% of COVID-19 cases stem from the Delta variant.

As much of the UK is undergoing a spike in infections, health officials have warned that the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, the deadly virus that causes COVID-19, is more than likely to “take hold” of the nation. 

Hans Henri P. Kluge, the regional director of the World Health Organization’s Europe division, remarked during a Thursday conference that the health body was growing concerned with the Delta variant’s ability to spread quickly.

“The new Delta variant of concern, which shows increased transmissibility and some immune escape, is poised to take hold in the region, while many among vulnerable populations above the age of 60 remain unprotected,” Kluge told reporters during the event, highlighting that research has proven B.1.617.2 is able to infect individuals who are not fully vaccinated.

In fact, a study released by the UK’s Public Health England determined that the Pfizer-BioNTech and the AstraZeneca vaccines were only 33% effective against symptomatic Delta cases after one dose. 

However, researchers also found that individuals who had received both doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines were 88% and 60% effective, respectively.

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