Delta strain up to 50% more infectious

·1-min read

The Delta coronavirus strain is up to 50 per cent more infectious than the Alpha variant first detected in Britain, and global efforts are required for its containment, a report by Indian government scientists says.

"Prior infections ... and partial vaccination are insufficient impediments to its spread, as seen in Delhi," the scientists from the Indian SARS-Cov-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) and National Centre for Disease Control warned.

They stressed that a "strong public health response will be needed globally for its containment".

The report, released on Friday, noted that the Delta variant, which had spread to some 54 countries, was capable of creating "very fast rising outbreaks with vaccination breakthroughs" or infecting people after vaccination.

The Delta variant had driven the deadly second wave across India, accounting for most infections in worst-hit states, broadcaster NDTV reported, citing the new report.

There were 12,200 "variants of concern" in the country but their presence was miniscule compared to the Delta variant that replaced all other variants in the second wave, it said.

There was however no evidence yet that the Delta variant caused more deaths as the increase in fatalities could be owing to factors such as the collapse of the healthcare system.

Infections in India jumped from 10 million at the beginning of the second wave in February to over 28.5 million, second to the United States.

India logged 132,364 cases on Friday, but experts believe that the second wave is on the wane with a decline from the peak of 400,000 daily cases in early May.