Two cases of the new delta-plus COVID-19 variant were detected in South Korea on Tuesday. According to the Korea Herald, both patients were fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.
One patient tested positive for COVID-19 on July 26 and has no recent history of overseas travel. The other patient recently traveled to the United States and tested positive on July 23.
According to the Korea Herald article, “Delta plus is a sub-lineage of delta with an extra mutation in the spike protein called K417N -- the same mutation found in beta and gamma, variants of concern first spotted in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.”
Last Friday, Jitendra Singh, Indian science and technology minister, reported that up to 70 cases of the delta-plus variant in the country were detected through genome sequencing as of July 23. During a Public Health England briefing held in July, it was stated that there are at least 39 confirmed cases of the delta-plus variant in England.
According to a CNN article, “Delta Plus has been reported in 11 countries -- but the number of cases per country only reflects samples that have been sequenced, and more data is needed to determine the actual rate of spread.”
The delta-plus variant may have traits such as increased transmissibility, stronger binding to receptors of lung cells and a potentially decreased antibody response, according to the CNN article. However, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium stated that the delta-plus variant is unlikely to be more transmissible than the delta variant.
There is currently no evidence that suggests the delta-plus variant renders existing vaccines less effective.
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