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All of the COVID variants ‘pale in comparison’ to this major variant

A major COVID-19 variant can pass faster than any other coronavirus variant

A photo of the virus that causes COVID-19.
The Associated Press reported on stories circulating online incorrectly asserting a study from the Francis Crick Institute in London found that Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine destroys a type of white blood cell called the T cell and weakens the immune system.
NIAID-RML via Associated Press

Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said all of the COVID-19 variants out there actually “pale in comparison” to one specific variant, and it’s a variant you’re likely familiar with by now.

  • “Delta is the dominant variant, in all of these other variants kind of pale in comparison when it comes to their ability to infect,” Adalja said on Hill.TV’s “Rising” program.
  • “And that’s what matters to this virus — just finding more people to infect, and delta is crowding all of the others out,” he added.

He said some COVID-19 variants developed to be fleeting and “come and go,” stopping them from becoming more widespread.

  • “What we’re finding is yes, there are other variants that occur even in the United States, but when it comes to delta, because it is so much more fit, because it is so much more efficiently transmitted, these other variants kind of come and go but they never get a toehold because it’s just kind of simple Darwinian natural selection,” he said.

Experts have been suggesting for weeks that the delta variant has been so transmissible that it will stop other variants from spreading. For example, 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” other variants, including alpha, beta and gamma variants.

  • “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.”

Multiple virologists told The Wall Street Journal that both the mu and lambda variants won’t surpass the delta variant, either.

  • The delta variant is “well positioned to maintain its dominance” over COVID-19 variants, virologists told WSJ.