The delta variant of the coronavirus is not your average mutation — it’s the one that defeated the other mutations that were rivaling it at its time.
Why the delta variant is unique
Nevan Krogan, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biosciences, told The Washington Post the delta variant is the “Goldilocks virus” because it has the right mutations to pass easily through humans quickly and infect a number of people.
Jeremy Luban, a virologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, told The Washington Post the delta variant is a nasty trick from the virus. It’s unclear if this is the last mutation, though.
- “Nobody knows what tricks the virus has left,” Luban told The Washington Post. “It’s possible we’ve seen all of its chess moves, or its poker tricks, but it’s got a very big complicated genome and it probably still has some space to explore.”
What are some other COVID-19 variants?
But this doesn’t mean the delta variant is the only variant circulating right now. In fact, a recent study — which was published online through bioRxiv but was not been peer-reviewed — found that the lambda variant has some mutations that could make it resistant to COVID-19 vaccine antibodies, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
- Kei Sato, of the University of Tokyo, told Reuters: “Lambda can be a potential threat to the human society.”
Similarly, a University of Washington study suggested that the epsilon variant could be as transmissible as delta, but also could evade COVID-19 vaccines.
- The variant’s mutations “give this coronavirus variant of concern a means to totally evade specific monoclonal antibodies used in clinics and reduces the effectiveness of antibodies from the plasma of vaccinated people,” according to the University of Washington study,
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top medical adviser for the White House on the novel coronavirus, recently said the delta variant may mutate again and lead to another COVID-19 variant.
- Fauci said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “if you give the virus the chance to continue to change, you’re leading to a vulnerability that we might get a worse variant. And then, that will impact not only the unvaccinated; that will impact the vaccinated because that variant could evade the protection of the vaccine.”