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Delta variant as contagious as chicken pox

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Delta variant as contagious as chicken pox:


Context:

The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) has revealed that:

  • The Delta variant of the coronavirus spreads as easily as chickenpox with a transmission rate up to nine times more than the original strain.
  • Breakthrough cases in vaccinated individuals may be as transmissible as unvaccinated cases.
  • Infection with the Delta variant produces virus amounts in the airways that are tenfold higher than what is seen in people infected with the Alpha variant, which is also highly contagious.

 

What is a Virus Variant?

Variants of a virus have one or more mutations that differentiate it from the other variants that are in circulation. While most mutations are deleterious for the virus, some make it easier for the virus to survive.

  • The SARS-CoV-2 (Corona) virus is evolving fast because of the scale at which it has infected people around the world. High levels of circulation mean it is easier for the virus to change as it is able to replicate faster.

 

What is a mutation?

  • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the virus.
  • In the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is an Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.
  • A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.

 

What is Delta Variant?

The Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was first detected in India. The variant contains multiple mutations in the spike protein.

 

Insta Curious:

Delta Variant is classified as a Variant of Concern (VOC)? How is such classification made? Who does it? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Covid 19?
  2. What is mutation?
  3. What is mRNA?
  4. What is RT- PCR test?
  5. What is genome sequencing?

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with mutations of Covid- 19 virus.

Sources: the Hindu.