Salim Abdool Karim, a South African epidemiologist, is one of the thousands of researchers around the world attempting to unravel the Coronavirus’s deep secrets! But they are yet to scream ‘Eureka’.
Since last year, they saw not one or two mutations, but ten to 20. Some of the new variants have new properties, fighting anti-bodies and spreading faster.
The speed of the spread between infected people and non-infected people is now faster.
The first variant, Alpha, was first discovered in Britain in September last year and soon scientists were becoming alarmed at the rate of spreading.
The original virus in Wuhan led to 2.5 subsequent infections, and it was four to five for the Alpha variant.
The South African Beta and Gamma variants were more virulent. The Gamma became more violent in Brazil, infecting people in droves.
Then came the Delta variant from India. It raised the bar of the infectious pandemic leading to the current catastrophe in the country.
Each of the variants seems to in a fight for dominance, with the news one’s overtaking the earlier ones.
In the UK, the Delta had almost fully displaced Alpha only two months after it came to the land of conquerors.
Now, the scientists have a road map of the replication speed and objectives. That is the virus is developing to beat human resistance. It is also ‘evolving’ to adapt to our system.
The Delta variant has several mutations on the spike protein of SARS-CoV-2, which can help it spread more easily than other forms of the virus.
Now, a smaller dose of the virus is enough to infect humans. It does not take too many pores to get into the human body to cause the infection.
Studies also show the number of viruses lurking in people’s airways is probably higher. People are also exhaling more viruses (Delta) than those infected by the older variants.
Economist says British studies have found Delta to be around 60% more transmissible than Alpha.
And there is still a long way to go before scientists can give the final blow to the COVID-19!
Nevertheless, Anwar has said he plans to introduce a programme that will include targeted subsidies…