COVID-19: Delta variant 'well on its way' to becoming globally dominant, says WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan

ANIUpdated: Friday, June 18, 2021, 11:14 PM IST
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Members of the public wearing face coverings due to Covid-19 are reflected in windows as they sit on a bench in Blackburn, north west England on June 16, 2021. - The UK government on Monday announced a four-week delay to the full lifting of coronavirus restrictions in England due to a surge in infections caused by Delta, which first appeared in India. | (Photo by AFP)

Geneva: World Health Organisation (WHO) Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan on Friday said that the Delta variant is "well on its way" to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly increased transmissibility.

Speaking at the media briefing on COVID-19, Swaminathan said "We need more data, again from well designed studies on the efficacy of the different vaccines that are in use in different countries against the different variants. So what this means is that there has to be in place, a study that uses a good design." WHO Chief Scientist also expressed disappointment at the failure of German company CureVac's vaccine candidate in a trial to meet the WHO's efficacy standard, particularly as highly transmissible variants boost the need for new, effective shots.

"It was disappointing to see the results from CureVac, that came with an efficacy of less than 50 per cent, which is the benchmark that we had set, as you mentioned, WHO had developed through the R&D blueprint to prevent epidemics the very early on the target product profiles for an effective and safe vaccine, setting the minimum efficacy of 50 per cent with the lower bound of the confidence interval not going below 30 per cent," she said.

"So, I think, each of these trials is a lesson for us also to learn more about the science and there's so much more that we are learning about this virus," WHO Chief Scientist added.

Earlier, The World Health Organisation (WHO) termed the Delta variant as a 'variant of concern' (VOC) and said it is more powerful than the Alpha variant that has lineage B.1.1.7. However, In India, the Delta variant has further mutated to form the 'Delta plus' or 'AY.1' variant.

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