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Could ‘delta plus’ kill the delta variant?

Experts said the low case numbers of delta plus are a sign it won’t overtake delta

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Members of the Korean Health Workers Union in Seoul, South Korea.

Members of the Korean Health Workers Union wearing protective gear shout slogans during a rally to call for an increase in the number of nurses assigned to COVID-19 treatment wards and for better treatment of medical personnel in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.

Ahn Young-joon, Associated Press

More reports continue to filter out that the delta plus variant of the novel coronavirus is spreading throughout the world — but it remains unclear whether or not delta plus will overtake delta as a dominant variant.

Is the delta plus variant spreading?

South Korea has found two cases of the delta plus COVID-19 variant earlier this week, per Reuters.

  • The delta plus variant is similar to the delta variant, except that it has a spike protein mutation similar to the COVID-19 variant discovered in South Africa, according to Reuters.
  • So far, there have been few cases of the delta plus variant.

Is delta plus variant worse than delta?

It’s hard to say. Per Business Insider, an Indian genomics consortium said delta plus probably won’t be more transmissible than the original delta. So far, India has seen about 70 delta plus cases after the original delta variant ran rampant through the country earlier this year.

In a similar light, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention deems the delta plus variant as a part of the delta variant itself, deciding not to separate the two variants, per The Washington Post.

Andrew Read, a Pennsylvania State University professor who studies the evolution of infectious diseases, told Business Insider that the delta plus variant may be an isolated event.

  • “It doesn’t terrify me anymore, really, than delta, he said.
  • “It could be that it’s several independent events that are spreading locally,” he said.