Variant AY.4.2: What you need to know about Delta Plus

What’s new about Delta Plus?

The variant AY.4.2 is probably a little more contagious than Delta, but it does not spread as quickly. At least this is the picture in Great Britain, where Delta Plus currently accounts for around ten percent of all Covid cases.

Delta Plus could be the most contagious strain of coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic, but there is still too little data to be able to say with certainty. “It is very good that we are aware of Delta Plus. It is excellent that we have the facilities and infrastructure to observe anything that is conspicuous. At the moment, however, I would say: wait and see and don’t panic ”, reassured Francois Balloux, Director of University College London’s Genetics Institute.

How is Delta Plus characterized?

It is one of a total of 45 Delta subspecies that have so far been identified worldwide. The new variant has two striking mutations on the spike protein that the virus uses to dock on human cells, called Y145H and A222V.

These two changes have also been detected in other variants, but so far they have not been considered to be of concern. It is unclear whether these two mutations are responsible for the higher infectivity. “Alpha and Delta were about 50 to 60 percent more contagious than the original variant,” explained Balloux. Delta Plus, on the other hand, is only around ten percent more contagious. The Austrian molecular biologist Andreas Berthaler tweeted: “EPidemiological data suggest an infectiousness only 10 to 15 percent higher than that of Delta. This would mean a slower increase in cases compared to Alpha & Delta. “

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