| March 13, 2024 | Medi-Products

Is There A Vaccine For The Delta Variant?

What Is the Delta Variant?
As viruses spread, they continually copy themselves in order to survive. Sometimes, these copies are imperfect, leading to new forms of the virus, which have a different genetic makeup. If the mutation is stronger than the original, it can eventually take over and become the dominant form. The Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, originally discovered in India in December 2020, has spread quickly in the US, and now makes up about 83% of all new infections.
What Are the Symptoms?
Through an app which tracks the disease, a significant change in symptoms has been reported. While the traditional symptoms have been fever, cough, shortness of breath and loss of taste or smell, reporting on the Delta symptoms have more often resembled the common cold – runny nose, sore throat, headache, as well as fever. However, health experts say that this could be because a large number of the older generation is vaccinated, and the younger generation who are less likely to be vaccinated often have less severe reactions.
Is It More Deadly?
Although it seems clear that the variant is much more transmissible, data is still unclear as to whether this new strain is more deadly. Some hotspots of the disease have reported the number of hospitalizations and death rate has doubled among unvaccinated people, while in other areas there has not been significant increase. Often this data is related to factors such as the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated and the average age of those infected.
Is There A Vaccine For It?
While the Covid vaccines seem less effective against this new strain, they still offer a strong level of protection. The Pfizer vaccine offers about an 79% effective rate against infection from this new variant compared to 92% against the original, and an even higher effectiveness rate against hospitalization. However, this data is based on a two-shot vaccination. Protection from this variant with only one shot is only about 33% effective.
Will Booster Shots Be Required?
This new variant will be closely monitored by the CDC. Pfizer has mentioned that they are currently developing a booster aimed at the Delta variant, and will soon submit it to the FDA for approval. It expected that current vaccine effectiveness rate will eventually decrease, and when it gets below a certain percentage, boosters will be necessary.
How Can These New Variants Be Prevented?
One benefit of a high percentage of vaccinations is that it keeps other variants from popping up. When a virus is widely spreading in a population, causing many infections, the higher the likelihood of the virus mutating grows, and with each mutation the higher the possibility that a stronger version will be formed. This is why we cannot declare the virus beaten just because cases are declining in one area, while in another area cases are climbing. In Africa for instance, less than 1% of the population has been vaccinated. This puts a stress on the importance of wealthier nations to assist poorer countries in the vaccine rollout, as well as provide resources to monitor and identify new strains.
What Will the Guidelines Be Going Forward?
The vaccine rollout now seems to have come to a crawl, with the percentage of those vaccinated vs those unvaccinated barely increasing. This means that the risk still remains real, and with this new variant spreading so quickly, a strain will remain on the health care system, with more hospitalizations, and potentially more deaths. Wearing a mask will still be a necessity depending on the environment you are in, because the more you are around unvaccinated people, the higher your chances will be of getting infected. Also it is good to keep in mind that no vaccine is 100% effective, and another layer of protection is always a good idea.

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