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FACT FINDER: COVID-19 delta variant mutates to delta plus

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 6:28 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The COVID-19 delta variant just mutated into something even worse.

It’s dubbed delta plus and it is in America.

We have not seen a confirmed case in Arizona, according to the T-Gen website.

Deepta Bhattacharya, an immunobiologist at the University of Arizona, said the original Delta variant is more transmissible than anything we’ve seen before.

Now, it mutated to delta plus, which seems to make it harder for antibodies to block it from entering a cell. So, is delta plus more transmissible than the original delta?

He said researchers are working to learn that but he hopes not.

”It’s nudging a little bit closer where it’s starting to potentially become a little bit of a problem,” he said. “I still think that there are other layers of the immune system that get elicited by both natural infection and vaccines, (but) it’s not like we’re going to be starting over at square one again.”

Bhattacharya said the vaccines we have should provide protection from delta plus.

A Public Health England study showed Pfizer to be 95% effective on the original strain and 88% effective on the delta variant. Bhattacharya believes vaccine efficacy for delta plus will likely drop a little more, but not dramatically.

Bhattacharya said the best thing we can do right now is stop these mutations from going any further. He said we should get as many people vaccinated as we can so the virus won’t have a host to mutate in.

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