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Delta vs. Omicron: More mutations don’t necessarily make for a bad Covid-19 virus


But doctors want to remind Americans that they are facing a rather formidable variant of the coronavirus, and that is Delta.

Delta has managed to take over the entire US in a matter of weeks in early summer, shifting the outlook on a country that is rolling out a vaccine and hopefully at a comparable rate.

“At the end of June, the seven-day moving average of reported cases was around 12,000. On July 27, the seven-day average of cases reached more than 60,000. This case rate “similar to the rate of cases we’ve seen before vaccination. has been widely available,” said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. says on its website. “The Delta variant is very contagious, 2 times more contagious than the previous variants.”

Delta now accounts for more than 99% of genetically sequenced coronavirus cases in the US, according to the CDC.

It remains to be seen whether Omicron will overtake Delta, but it will be tough.

“Of course, we still have a serious increase in Delta variant in the US. We should be thinking about that,” National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins told CNN on Monday.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US currently has an average of 70,094 new cases of Covid-19 and 730 deaths per day. And JHU says 75% of the beds in the US intensive care unit are occupied, 15% of which are of Covid-19 patients.

Compare Omicron and Delta

The majority were made of 50 mutants that marked the Omicron variant – 32 of which were located on the mutant protein, the club-shaped structure that covers the surface of the virus and is used to attach to human cells for the virus to infect. surname.

But Delta has a bunch of scary mutations of its own, and they turned it into the worst version of the virus ever. It races through populations, displacing more worrisome variants whose mutations allow them to evade the effects of vaccines, such as the Beta variant.

Biden said the new Omicron variant & # 39;  cause concern, not cause panic & # 39;

Robert Garry, a virologist at Tulane University, made a direct comparison of the mutations seen in Delta and Omicron.

Gary told CNN. “But we’ve seen such an evolutionary leap before,” he added.

“There are definitely hotspots where this virus likes to mutate,” he said. But just because there are many mutations does not necessarily mean that they will form a small virus.

“What all of those changes overall will do to things that are important to this virus, we still don’t know,” Garry said.

But he doesn’t see many important mutations that would make the Omicron version more contagious than Delta.

“I mean, things that can affect transmission, I just don’t see a whole bunch of things that would give it a really strong advantage over Delta,” he said.

“That’s really the big question. You know, when it joins a Delta population, will it compete or not?”

Other genetics experts also note that Omicron didn’t make some of the changes that helped make Delta so contagious.

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Trevor Bedford, a genomic scientist and epidemiologist at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centers in Seattle, said on Twitter. He consulted a study in September from researchers at the Broad Institute, who have found at least three mutations in the Delta variant that they say appear to make it more transmissible.

Some mutations that increase transmissibility are also seen in dead variants, such as the one known as Kappa.

Protection against Covid-19

Garry found that mutations can help Omicron evade the body’s immune response – especially from previous infections.

“It has immune evasion. So does Delta, before that Alpha and Beta. Should we work on a specific vaccine? Yes,” he said.

All vaccinated adults should get a Covid-19 booster vaccine because of the Omicron variant, CDC says

Doctors say the immune response generated by vaccination is broader than that caused by natural infection, so people who get vaccinated can still be protected from serious illness.

“Your best protection against Delta is to get vaccinated, and if you’ve been vaccinated and six months have passed since you had Pfizer or Moderna, get a booster shot, two months,” Collins told CNN. since J&J, get booster shots,” Collins told CNN.

“That’s why, but now let’s add Omicron to the mix,” he said. “And we believe this new variant, which may be coming to our shores, will also be the kind of vaccine and booster that can help you.”

The CDC reinforced its booster guidance Monday, saying that all adults should get a booster shot six months after finishing the first two doses of Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and two months after getting the vaccine. Johnson & Johnson single dose.

And there are no known mutations that would cause the virus to evade precautions like face masks, hand washing and physical distancing. Even if a mutation helps the virus become more viable as an airborne pathogen, better ventilation can help prevent transmission.

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