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Thailand hospital discovers more new Delta sub-variants

New Delta sub-variants discovered by Thailand hospital - Image courtesy of Pattaya Mail

Ramathibodi Hospital in Thailand has found 4 new sub-variants of the Delta strain of the novel coronavirus in samples analyzed by the hospital.

  1. So far, experts have identified over 60 possible mutations in the genetic make-up of the Delta strain.
  2. Of these, 22 are known to be responsible for the emergence of new sub-variants.
  3. Delta variants are around 60 percent more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and can escape immunity from prior infection roughly half of the time.

The head of Ramathibodi Hospital’s Centre for Medical Genomics, Prof. Dr. Wasun Chatratita, said the sub-variants were detected in samples received from several hospitals across Thailand.

He said sub-variant AY.4 (B.1.617.2.4) was found in 3% of samples sent in from Pathum Thani, while AY.6 (B.1.617.2.6) was detected in 1% of samples from all over the country. Meanwhile, sub-variants AY.10 (B.1.617.2.10) and AY.12 AY.12 (B.1.617.2.15) were found in 1% of samples sent in from Bangkok.

So far, experts have identified over 60 possible mutations in the genetic make-up of the Delta strain. Of these, 22 are known to be responsible for the emergence of new sub-variants. The first Delta sub-variants, which have been verified, AY.1 and AY.2, were first discovered in Nepal.

Researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health used a computer model to estimate that the Delta variants are around 60 percent more contagious than the original SARS-CoV-2 virus and can escape immunity from prior infection roughly half of the time. Compared to Delta, Beta and Gamma are less transmissible but more able to escape immunity. Compared to the original virus, Iota is more fatal to older adults.

Dr. Wan Yang, PhD, assistant professor of epidemiology and lead author of the studies said: “New variants of SARS-CoV-2 have become widespread, but currently vaccines are still highly effective in preventing severe disease from these infections, so please get vaccinated if you have not done so.

“It is important that we closely monitor the spread of these variants so as to guide continued preventive measures, vaccination campaigns, and the assessment of vaccine efficacy.

“More fundamentally, to limit the emergence of new variants and end the COVID-19 pandemic, we need global efforts to vaccinate all populations worldwide, and continue using other public health measures until a sufficient portion of the population is protected by vaccination.”

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About the author

Linda Hohnholz, eTN editor

Linda Hohnholz has been writing and editing articles since the start of her working career. She has applied this innate passion to such places as Hawaii Pacific University, Chaminade University, the Hawaii Children's Discovery Center, and now TravelNewsGroup.

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