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This COVID variant is stronger than the mu and lambda variants, experts say

The World Health Organization said the delta variant continues to replace other variants

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The delta variant of the coronavirus.

Illustration by Alex Cochran, Deseret News

The delta variant continues to be the dominant coronavirus variant across the world, replacing other variants with ease, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Is the delta variant dangerous?

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19, said in a video Q&A, that the delta variant is “outcompeting and replacing” all other COVID-19 variants right now. In fact, it has outlasted alpha, beta and gamma variants, which represent less than 1% of all COVID-19 cases, she said.

  • “Of those four variants of concern, delta is, by far, the most transmissible,” Van Kerkhove said. “If delta is identified or starts to circulate in a country where there is beta ... (delta) has quickly replaced the variant there.”

Will the mu variant and the lambda variant rise?

Indeed, Van Kerkhove said the recent variants of interest, like the mu variant, can’t defeat the delta variant in becoming dominant, according to The Washington Post.

  • “Lambda and mu don’t seem to be dominant,” she said.

In early September, multiple virologists told The Wall Street Journal that the mu and lambda variants won’t surpass the delta variant, which is “well positioned to maintain its dominance” over other COVID-19 variants.

Should you be worried about COVID variants?

Dr. Anna Durbin, a professor in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told Newsweek that the variants like to battle with each other for dominance by infecting vulnerable people. The delta variant is infecting a lot of vulnerable people, which leaves little room for lambda or mu to grow.

  • “These viruses are all competing with each other for advantage to be the one that survives,” Durbin told Newsweek. “We know that the lambda variant has some of the same mutations as the delta variant that we think (will) allow it to be more transmissible, so it would be difficult to outcompete the delta variant.”