LONDON, Aug.6 (Reuters) – There are early signs that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 could transmit the Delta variant of the virus as easily as those who have not, scientists from Public Health England (PHE). Friday.
The results are consistent with those from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which raised concerns last week that vaccinated people infected with Delta could, unlike other variants, easily transmit it. Read more
The highly infectious Delta variant has become the dominant type of coronavirus globally, supporting a pandemic that has already killed more than 4.4 million people, including more than 130,000 in Britain.
Vaccines have been shown to provide good protection against serious illness and death from Delta, especially with two doses, but there is less evidence that people who are vaccinated can still pass it on to others.
“Some initial findings (…) indicate that virus levels in those infected with Delta who have previously been vaccinated may be similar to levels found in unvaccinated people,” PHE said in a statement.
“This may have implications for the infectivity of people, whether they have been vaccinated or not. However, this is an early exploratory analysis and further targeted studies are needed to confirm if this is the case. “
PHE said that among the confirmed cases of Delta who had ended up hospitalized since July 19, 55.1% had not been vaccinated, while 34.9% had received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Almost 75% of the UK population has received two doses of the vaccine, and PHE said that ‘as more of the population is vaccinated we will see a relatively higher percentage of people vaccinated in hospital “.
Separately, PHE said another variant, known as B.1.621, first detected in Colombia, showed signs of an escape from the immune response triggered by COVID-19 vaccines or infection. earlier.
PHE labeled the variant “under investigation” but did not declare it “variant of concern” – a designation that may trigger strong policy responses.
“There is preliminary laboratory evidence suggesting that vaccination and previous infection may be less effective in preventing infection with (B.1.621),” he said, adding that there had been 37 confirmed cases. of the variant in England.
“However, this data is very limited and more research is needed. There is no evidence to suggest that it is more transmissible than the dominant Delta variant. “
Reporting by Alistair Smout Editing by Costas Pitas and Mark Potter
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