Friday, January 21

Catalua detects the first five cases of the Delta plus variant


Children with masks in a school in Bacelona.EFE

Catalonia has detected the first five cases of the Delta plus variant of Covid, which is assumed to have a greater contagion power than Delta, responsible for the explosion of cases that generated the fifth wave of the pandemic in Spain during the summer .

This has been confirmed by the Minister of Health of the Generalitat, the masks will no longer be mandatory in the patios of the schools of Madrid as of Monday, who has labeled the positive detected as “anecdotal, for the moment”, but has warned: “You start here and then you move on.”

Argimon has declared himself “concerned” about the increase in infections in Catalonia, which has registered 664 positives in the last 24 hours and four deaths, according to data from the Catalan Government.

However, Catalonia continues to defend the relaxation of restrictions and has already requested the Interterritorial Health Council to initiate the removal of the mask in schools. The Health Minister has established as a “priority” that students should not use this protective element in the courtyards or classrooms, because “there is no reason to be” that they should be removed in spaces such as theaters and gyms and not in schools. It should be remembered that the masks will cease to be mandatory in the courtyards of the Madrid schools as of Monday by decision of the autonomous government led by Isabel Daz Ayuso.

Between 10% and 15% more contagious

The UK is closely monitoring the evolution of a new variant of SARS-CoV-2. This is Delta plus, also called AY.4.2, a sub-lineage of the original Delta variant (B.1.617) that emerged in India in late 2020. Early analyzes suggest that its transmission capacity could be greater than its ancestry.

Specifically, Delta plus appears to be between 10% and 15% more transmissible than the currently predominant Delta variant. In any case, this increase in transmissibility is small considering that Delta doubled the contagion capacity of the first viruses described in Wuhan.

Delta plus is not causing a case explosion at the moment. It has been detected in Denmark and the United Kingdom, two countries that carry out strict surveillance of the genomic variants of the Covid virus. Also in the United States, three cases of the variant have been detected in recent days.

The variant has two characteristic mutations in protein S, the ‘key’ that allows the virus to enter and infect cells. Named Y145H and A222V, their role is being investigated. At the moment, the World Health Organization has not included the variant within its categories of risk or interest variants. There are more than 40 described sublineages of the Delta variant.

Since the summer, the United Kingdom has been experiencing an escalation in the number of infections, although the Delta variant – not Delta plus – continues to be the great dominant one. In addition to an early lifting of restrictions (on July 19 the obstacles were removed), also the limited vaccination rate (they do not reach 70% among the general population) seem to be behind this wave.

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