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Home > Blog > Understanding the Delta and Delta Plus Variants of COVID-19

Understanding the Delta and Delta Plus Variants of COVID-19

Understanding the Delta and Delta Plus Variants of COVID-19

Max Lab

Mar 08, 2022

The Delta and Delta Plus variants of COVID-19 have been classified as “Variants of Concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because of their increased ability to cause a severe form of the disease and their increased transmissibility, as compared to earlier variants. The Delta variant of COVID-19 was first identified in late 2020 in India and named on 31st May 2021. On the other hand, the Delta Plus variant is a subtype of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and has an additional mutation in the spike protein. While the Delta plus variant is supposed to be slightly more transmissible as compared to the Delta variant, the number of Delta plus variant cases in India and across the world have remained comparatively low. The Delta and Delta plus variants have symptoms that may vary from each other, but can lead to several complications, especially in unvaccinated individuals. Here is all you need to know about the Delta and Delta Plus variant of COVID-19.

How Contagious are the Delta Variants?

Viruses need host cells to reproduce and transmit their genetic material to other cells to make more of the virus in order to spread the disease. The thing that makes the Delta and Delta Plus variants of COVID-19 more contagious than previous variants is their spike protein. The word “Corona” in Latin means “Crown”, which alludes to the observed shape of the virus. The crown's spikes get attached to a person’s cells and then produce more of the virus to infect the human body. The Delta variant of COVID-19 has spike protein mutations that make it transmit easily and infect human cells. On the other hand, the Delta Plus variant has the presence of an additional mutation in the virus’s spike protein that can infect healthy cells. The symptoms of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and those of the Delta Plus variant as observed in patients are slightly different from those shown by the previous COVID-19 variants. People who have received all doses of the COVID-19 vaccine may get milder Delta or Delta Plus variant symptoms as compared to unvaccinated individuals.

Symptoms of the Delta Variant of COVID-19

The symptoms of the Delta variant of COVID-19 slightly differ from those of the previous variants of COVID-19. However, physicians treating people affected by the COVID-19 Delta variant see symptoms affecting people quicker, especially among younger children. Fully vaccinated people on the other hand are generally either asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms if they do get infected by the Delta variant of COVID-19. Their symptoms more likely resemble those of a common cold, fever, or headache, however, with the significant addition of the loss of smell.

Some of the common symptoms of the Delta variant of COVID-19 include:

  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of smell

Other symptoms may include chills, muscle or body pain, diarrhea, nausea, congestion, abdominal pain, fatigue, etc. If the symptoms seem to worsen or if the patient experiences the following, medical care must be sought immediately:

  • Pressure & persistent chest pain
  • Bluish tone on lips or face
  • Difficulty waking up or sleeping
  • Difficulty in breathing

Symptoms of Delta Plus Variant of COVID-19

The symptoms of the Delta Plus variant are slightly different from the original strain of the virus. However, loss of smell and taste, fever, cold and cough are some of the common symptoms of the COVID-19 variant.

In case of a severe infection caused by the Delta Plus variant, symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever
  • Continuous coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhoea

The Efficacy of Vaccination

When it comes to the Delta variant, COVID-19 vaccines have proven to be quite effective. Two doses of the WHO-approved vaccines are sufficient for preventing severe infection and hospitalisation. The COVID-19 vaccine protects most people from getting severely infected by the virus. Even after vaccination, people who get infected by the virus are likely to have milder infections. Plus, any vaccine which is effective against the Delta variant is also going to protect you against the Delta Plus variant. So, regardless of the COVID-19 vaccine you choose, it is crucial to ensure complete vaccination at the soonest in order to protect yourself against the Delta and Delta plus variants of COVID-19.

Basic Precautions to be Observed

There are several safety precautions and steps that an individual should take in order to minimise their risk of getting infected by COVID-19.

  • Avoid crowded spaces and maintain social distancing wherever possible.
  • Keep all the indoor spaces properly ventilated.
  • Always wear a mask in public spaces or where physical distancing is not possible.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap or an alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
  • Get fully vaccinated to protect yourself against the severe effects of the COVID-19 virus.

As the booster doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are being developed, it is extremely important, even for fully vaccinated individuals, to ensure proper safety and precautions to stay protected against the virus.

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