PHOENIX – TGEN reports that COVID-19 variant B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant, is in Arizona.
The company publishes a daily dashboard that reports the proportion of COVID-19 variants displayed in their genome sequencing by month.
In May, the Delta variant makes up 19 or 1.57% of sequenced genomes.
The Delta variant originates from India and is listed as a “Variant of Interest” by the Center for Disease Control.
The BBC reported that the variant now accounts for 91% of cases in the UK, which was once dominated by the homemade British variant B.1
This has led epidemiologists to estimate that the Delta variant has a transmission advantage of 60% over the British variant, which was already significantly more transmissible than previous COVID-19 variants.
It took four months for B.117 to become the dominant COVID-19 variant in Arizona, going from 0.57% of sequenced genomes in January to 60.12% in April.
Why does this matter?
In places where the Delta variant has taken hold, there is concern that some infected individuals may see more severe symptoms, such as hearing loss and blood clots at higher speeds.
Does the vaccine protect against the delta variant?
Yes, but the CDC warns that vaccinations may be somewhat less effective against it. A study in the United Kingdom suggests that a two-dose Pfizer regiment is 88% effective against delta versus 90% against the British variant. A Pfizer dose is only 33% effective rather than 50%.
The good news is that as with other variants that have emerged, COVID-19 vaccinations have proven to be very effective in preventing serious illness and death from the delta variant.