The COVID-19 Delta Variant in the UK: What You Need to Know
Delta remains the dominant COVID-19 variant in the UK, with tens of thousands of cases recorded by September 2021.
In other places, cases of the Delta variant are also concerning. Moreover, a recent review of all COVID-19 variants published in Nature Reviews Genetics suggests that different COVID-19 vaccines have varying effectiveness against the Delta variant.
The Pfizer vaccine is approximately 85 percent effective against Delta, while AstraZeneca is about 60 per cent effective. The review also includes new mutations of the Delta variant, including the substrain Delta Plus.
The dominance of Delta among the UK population is concerning as studies show that catching the variant doubles the risk of hospitalisation compared to catching the Alpha variant.
Experts gathered data from 40,000 individuals with confirmed COVID-19, but a majority of them were unvaccinated. Of all the recorded Alpha and Delta cases, 24 per cent had partial protection from one COVID-19 vaccine dose, while only two per cent were fully inoculated.
Is the Delta Variant More Transmissible?
Researchers studying Delta claim that this variant poses a significant risk to individuals. Experts say that aside from Delta being more infectious than previous variants, it also causes more severe illnesses in populations that previously would have had only mild infections.
Delta’s modification to the spike protein makes it easier for this variant to enter the cell and move from viral carrier to infected person quicker.
What Are the Symptoms of the Delta Variant?
At present, nothing suggests that the symptoms of the Delta variant are different from other COVID-19 variants. So, in general, the primary symptoms of COVID-19 include:
- New, continuous cough: coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours, or having a cough that is worse than usual
- High temperature: feeling hot to the touch on your chest or back
- Loss or change of smell or taste: noticing you cannot smell or taste anything, or that things smell or taste differently
The National Health Service says that most people with COVID-19 show at least one of the above symptoms. Still, Delta holds the possibility of causing diseases with increased severity due to being more infectious than other variants.