WHO: Delta Becomes Globally Dominant Covid-19 Variant
UMMATIMES - The Delta variant of Covid-19, which was first identified in India, has spread and is becoming the dominant variant of the disease globally. The World Health Organization's (WHO) chief scientist, Soumya Swaminathan, said the Delta variant was highly contagious and required a new, more effective vaccine.
"The Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally due to its increased transmissibility," said Swaminathan.
Swaminathan also voiced disappointment over the failure of the vaccine candidate CureVac in trials to meet WHO efficacy standards. CureVac reports its vaccine has only been shown to be 47 percent effective in preventing Covid-19. This is still far from the WHO benchmark of 50 percent.
CureVac has documented at least 13 variants of Covid-19 in its research. The mRNA vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as Moderna have an efficacy rate of up to 90 percent. Swaminathan said the world expects the effectiveness of CureVac to increase.
"Just because this is another mRNA vaccine, we can't assume all mRNA vaccines are the same, because each one has a slightly different technology," Swaminathan said.
WHO officials say Africa remains an area of concern, even though it only accounts for about 5 per cent of new global infections and 2 per cent of deaths. The head of the WHO's Emergency Program, Mike Ryan, said new cases in Namibia, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Rwanda had doubled in the last week.
"It's a very, very concerning trajectory that the reality is that amid increased transmission of new variants, we have left a large part of Africa's vulnerable population unprotected by the vaccine," Ryan said.
The UK has reported a sharp increase in infections with the Delta variant. As German public health officials predict, the Delta variant is rapidly becoming the dominant variant despite rising vaccination rates.