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The AY.4.2 variant isn’t cause for concern, expert says

The new ‘delta plus’ variant, AY.4.2, has reached the U.S. But experts said it isn’t a cause for panic

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The delta variant of the coronavirus.

The new “delta plus” variant, AY.4.2, has reached the U.S. But experts said it isn’t a cause for panic.

Illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

Experts this week stood by their previous claims that the delta plus variant — the AY.4.2 variant — isn’t a cause for concern for the general American population.

What is the AY.4.2 variant?

The AY.4.2 variant is a subvariant of the delta variant, which currently makes up about 10% of current COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom, as I explained for the Deseret News.

  • Per CNBC, the AY.4.2 variant started popping up in the summer in the United Kingdom. The variant has two specific mutations that allow it to infiltrate people’s cells.

Experts last week said the variant is likely 10% more transmissible than the original delta variant. But it is not a major cause for concern.

Should you be worried?

Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Insider that there isn’t a reason to panic over the coronavirus variant since it’s something that happens normally.

  • “New variants are generated all the time,” he said. “That’s the normal thing that this virus is going to do. It’s going to continue to mutate. While variants may garner headlines and people may write doomsday scenarios about them, most are not going to really change the trajectory of the pandemic.”

The delta variant became so dominant throughout the world. So it’s not surprising that there would be variants of the delta variant, Adalja told Insider.

Similarly, Christina Pagel, director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit at University College London, told CNBC the the new variant subtype shouldn’t worry you.

  • “Delta compared to alpha was around 60% more transmissible, it was doubling every week. This is going up by a percent or two a week — it’s much, much slower. So in that sense, it’s not a big disaster like delta was. It will probably gradually replace delta over the next few months. But there’s no sign it’s more vaccine resistant, (so) at the moment I wouldn’t be panicking about it.”