Bodies of unvaccinated people become ‘variant factories’, says expert

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Unvaccinated individuals do not merely risk their own health but are potential ‘variant factories’ of coronavirus, CNN reported. Countries are running against time to vaccinate people against Covid-19. “Unvaccinated people are potential variant factories. The more unvaccinated people there are, the more opportunities for the virus to multiply,” Dr William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN.

There are already several variants of the coronavirus, including four called “variants of concern” by the World Health Organization.

The Delta variant has already been reported from nearly 100 countries and the UN health agency on Friday warned that the world is in a “very dangerous period” of this pandemic. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press briefing that the Delta variant is continuing to evolve and mutate.

The Delta variant which further mutated to form the Delta plus, characterised by B.1.617.2 variant acquiring another mutation, K417N has been classified as a “variant of concern” in India.

Meanwhile, a possible third wave of coronavirus infection can hit its peak between October-November if Covid-appropriate behaviour is not followed. However, Covid infection can spread faster during the third wave if any new virulent variant of SARS-CoV-2 emerges, said Manindra Agarwal who is working with the Sutra Model– the mathematical projection of the COVID-19 trajectory, PTI reported.

About the predictions for the third wave, Agarwal said the loss of immunity, effects of vaccination and the possibility of a more virulent variant have been factored in this time, which was not done while modelling the second wave.

If a new mutant emerges, the third wave could spread rapidly, but it will be half of what the second wave was. Delta variant is infecting people who contracted a different variant earlier. So this has been taken into consideration, Agarwal said.

The four variants of concern include Alpha, first discovered in the UK, Beta, first discovered in South Africa, Gamma, first discovered in Brazil, and Delta, first discovered in India, pose risks because they are either more transmissible, cause worse disease, or can evade immune protection.

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