Covid-19: what we know about the new Delta sub-variant

the essential A Delta sub-variant worries the United Kingdom: “AY.4.2”. it has been detected in most European countries. In France, 14 cases have been confirmed.

In July 2021, scientists discovered a new variant. “AY.4.2” is a sub-variant of Delta which appeared in India and which had caused an epidemic resumption in late spring and early summer.

This sub-variant is defined by two mutations in the Spike protein: Y 45 H and A 222 V. But the appearance of new mutations in the virus is not surprising. “we distinguish 45 sublines of the Delta variant. The perception that these variants are homogeneous is false”, explains to Figaro François Balloux, director of the Institute of Genetics at the University College of London. For him, the British authorities are worried because the frequency of appearance of the sub-variant has increased by 7% in recent weeks.

Where the sub-variant is he present?

The AY4.2 subvariant has been detected in 27 countries, North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. It has infected 10 970 people around the world, including 14 247 in UK and 14 in France, according to figures for 18 October.

Does it affect vaccinated people?

If the variant is transmitted more easily, “there is little reason to believe that the sub-variant affects vaccinated people”, reassures François Balloux. Currently, studies are underway to determine its resistance to the vaccine.

Is it more contagious?

The Delta variant already had strong transmissibility. But François Bailloux fears that it will be even more so with this sub-variant. “It is the first subvariant that is more transmissible than Delta. Many hoped that a maximum rate of transmissibility had been achieved with the Delta variant.” The professional believes that the rate of transmissibility could be 10% higher than the Delta.

But he wants to be reassuring, the situation “is not dramatic” and “the slight increase in transmissibility will have little impact on the number of cases. It is unlikely that it will change the current situation,” he adds. he.

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