According to various analyzes at the genetic level of the Delta variant of SARS-COV-2 , it presents a higher risk of hospitalizations and is more transmissible compared to other variants.
The Delta variant was detected in India in October 2020 and its presence is estimated in at least 96 countries. Projections show that this variant will become dominant worldwide by the end of this year.
It has also been found that this variant presents a higher risk of reinfection and presents a clinical picture slightly different from the original variant and other new variants: more headache and less cough are some of the differences.
The Delta variant has “genetic enhancements” that make it “superior” to the others.
These are the mutations of the Delta variant that give it advantages over the other variants
According to Tulio de Oliveira, from the Krisp laboratory, at the KwaZulu-Natal University in South Africa, these are the advantages of the Delta variant:
- Two substitutions in the cell receptor-binding domain (L452R and T478K)
- Substitution near the S1 / S2 cleavage site via furin (P681R)
- Substitution (T19R) and deletion (157-158del) in the NTD antigenic domain.
Infection capacity. means that the Delta variant has a more efficient cellular infectivity because it changes the way the virus connects with cells.
This is due to two mutations in the spike (S) ID protein identified with the codes L452R and T478K.
These mutations give the ability to increase the viral load in an infected patient which increases the ability to infect other people.
Since when you cough, sneeze or talk, more virus particles can travel through the aerosols.
More efficient activation. When the virus enters a cell, an activation process must take place, in SARS-COV-2, this activation process occurs by the enzyme called furin, which cuts protein S in two, these are also responsible for the virus attaches itself to the respiratory tract.
According to José Eduardo Levi, virologist at Laboratorios Dada, the more efficient the furin, the more efficient the spike of the virus.
It can escape from antibodies and vaccines. According to Fernando Spilki, from the University of Feevale, when a virus partially looks at some parts of the generated antibodies, they may not match the properties of the virus, helping it to escape neutralizing antibodies at least partially.
It has been discovered that the Delta variant can at least partially escape the neutralizing antibodies generated by the Beta variant, discovered in South Africa.