When we were relieved that the cases were dropping and we were going back to the then normal along with vaccination drive speed up, then came another wave, with new DELTA variant that hit massively or we, can say that it was detected in India first and now a predominant one in other countries making it again a concern among every individual.

The Delta variant was behind the deadly second wave of the coronavirus in India that killed thousands and infected lakhs from March to May.

WHAT LEADS THE VIRUS TO CHANGE?

The chance of a virus evolving increases when it is widely circulating in a population and causing many infections. The more possibilities a virus has to propagate, the more it replicates — and the more mutations it may go through. The capacity of most viruses to produce infections and illness is unaffected by most alterations. However, depending on where the mutations occur in the virus’s genetic material, they may have an impact on the virus’s characteristics, such as transmission (it may spread more or less quickly, for example) or severity.

According to current estimations, the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 might be more than twice as transmissible as the original strain.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the variant has expanded to 124 additional countries and will outcompete all other existing variants.

Of the three other coronavirus variants of concern (VOCs), Alpha, first detected in Britain, has been reported in 180 territories, Beta, first detected in South Africa, in 130, and Gamma, first detected in Brazil, in 78. 

The WHO reported that, as of July 20, the prevalence of delta in specimens exceeded 75% in many countries around the world, including Australia, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Israel, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

A growing spectrum of mutations is seen in the Delta background in the U.K., the U.S., and India.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that the Delta variant now accounts for 83% of all sequenced Covid-19 cases in the country.

Increasing data suggest that the Delta version is more transmissible than non-VOCs (a variant of concern). The specific mechanism for the rise in transmissibility, however, is unknown, according to the WHO.

While the delta variant of the coronavirus has quickly become the dominant strain in the United States, it’s not the only variant circulating in the population. The lambda variant, first identified in Peru, is also making headlines as it has started to be identified in several states. 

The lambda variant was first identified in Peru in August 2020, according to the World Health Organization. Cases with the variant have now been identified in 28 countries, according to GISAID — though many of those have identified only a handful of lambda cases.

The lambda variant carries several mutations with suspected implications, such as potential increased transmissibility or possible increased resistance to neutralizing antibodies, the WHO says. But it says the full extent of those mutations’ impact isn’t yet well understood and will need further study.

Vaccination

Evidence is limited on how the new COVID-19 variants will affect how COVID-19 vaccines work in real-world conditions. Every country has been advised to ramp up the vaccine manufacturing and rolling out vaccines as quickly and widely as possible, will also be critical ways of protecting people before they are exposed to the virus and the risk of new variants with priority given to high-risk population and then the rest of the population. 

India and its vaccination drive

India has vaccinated just over 5% of its population six months after launching the world’s biggest immunization campaign.

It is presently vaccinating approximately four million people each day, but by the end of the year, it will need to administer about eight to nine million shots per day to vaccinate everyone eligible.

Despite a promising start in January, the campaign has slowed in subsequent months due to a lack of vaccinations and difficulties in getting additional vaccines approved.

July might be the strongest month in terms of total doses delivered since the vaccination campaign began in India, with 40.1 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered per day on average. If the country keeps up its current pace, it will administer 12.4 crore doses by the end of the month.

HOW TO AVOID SPREAD

Stopping the spread at its source is still crucial. Current measures, such as regular hand washing, wearing a mask, physical distancing, sufficient ventilation, and avoiding crowded locations or enclosed settings, continue to operate against new variations by decreasing viral transmission and therefore lowering the virus’s ability to evolve.