The Delta version is beginning to spread, threatening the progress of EU Covid

The Delta coronavirus version, which was spread by the UK, became prevalent in Portugal, appearing in clusters in Germany, France and Spain, prompting European healthcare workers to warn of further actions to slow its spread.

Although the new strain, first introduced in India, is still only a fraction of the total number of coronavirus cases in continental Europe, it is gaining momentum, according to the Financial Times, an analysis of the global genomic database of the Gisaid virus database. It accounts for 96% of Covid-19 consecutive infections in Portugal, more than 20% in Italy and about 16% in Belgium, according to FT estimates.

The small but growing number of cases has raised fears that the Delta version could halt progress by the EU over the past two months, with new infections and deaths falling to a minimum in the autumn.

“We are in the process of crushing the virus, crushing the epidemic, we must not allow the Delta version to prevail,” French Health Minister Olivier Veran told reporters at the Paris Vaccine Center on Tuesday.

Veran said that 2 to 4 percent of the virus samples analyzed in France show it as a Delta variant. “You could say it’s still low, but it’s similar to the situation in the UK a few weeks ago.” Analysis of Gisaid data by Fisa shows that this figure may be higher.

In Portugal, the community transmission of the variant was found in a larger area of ​​Lisbon, where more than 60% of new cases of coronavirus detected in the country were detected in the last week. Non-essential travel Out of town և Leaving the city in an attempt to prevent maturation from spreading to other countries.

Scientists across the continent are now looking at the UK, where Covid-19 cases have tripled in the last month, with the Delta version accounting for 98% of all new infections for information on future events. taken

After official data showed that the Delta version seemed to increase the risk of hospitalization by 2.2 times compared to the Alpha version, the UK government applied a one-month delay this week to lift the remaining coronavirus restrictions.

“The decisions made by the UK on the reopening of life and society will be a laboratory for us in Europe,” said Bruno Lina, a Lyon virologist who advises the French government to help coordinate the sequence of options in the country.

Will the cluster of Delta infections that the EU is turning into become bigger outbreaks, in part depending on how many people are fully vaccinated, scientists say, like the way people behave when taken out of life or business? many restrictions.

A chart showing that there are signs that many states are now seeing a shrinking outbreak of the Alpha version մեկը one of the rising Delta.

Recent research by the United Kingdom Government has highlighted the need to end vaccination programs as soon as possible. According to: Public health data collected in England, The first dose of Covid-19 vaccine is generally less effective against the Delta version than previous strains. Both doses increase Delta protection from 33% to 81% of symptomatic infections.

Although around 46% of the population in the UK is fully vaccinated, in most continental European countries the vaccination rate is in the range of 20 to 30%. In France, about 26 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.

French authorities are currently trying to contain the outbreak in the Landes region near the Spanish border, where 125 cases of the Delta version have been genetically confirmed; another 130 are suspected, representing about 30 percent of those recently infected in the area. In recent weeks, clusters of the Delta version have been discovered at the Strasbourg School of Fine Arts in the southern suburbs of Paris.

In each case, the health officials responded with the same formula. Increased communication trajectory նոր New incentive to vaccinate people in affected areas.

“If we continue the vaccination at a good pace, ոչ some non-pharmacological interventions, such as masks inside, we can still suppress the circulation of the virus this summer,” said French virologist Lina. “This option will move others, we should take that into account, but that does not mean it will lead to a new epidemic.”

Vaccination site in Jutland, Denmark
Denmark has detected only a small number of Delta infections, although the version arrived around the same time as the UK. © Henning Bagger / EPA-EFE

Some scientists fear that the Delta version may have become more widespread, but it has not been discovered, given that continental Europe has run out of the lack of the genome sequence needed to find the variants. Although the UK has isolated more than 500,000 Sars-Kov-2 genomes, Germany, France and Spain have sequenced about 130,000, 47,000 և 34,000 respectively.

“It’s expensive, it’s time consuming, it’s neglected,” said Antoine Flejo, director of the University of Ono World Health Institute.

Denmark, however, said a large proportion of cases had yet to be identified, with only a handful of delta infections occurring, although the variant arrived in the country at about the same time as the UK.

Experts say this can be partly explained by differences in demographics, including the number of cases imported into the country from high-income regions, such as India, and the living conditions of the communities it sows.

The difference in Delta’s distribution rate in European countries remained “a bit of a mystery,” said FFF Barrett, director of the Covid-19 genomics initiative at the Wellcome Sanger Institute in Cambridge.

However, many experts believe that wherever the Delta version is introduced, it will eventually prevail. According to them, the key will be to increase the share of fully vaccinated people, while slowing down the transmission of the virus as much as possible.

“We have to keep the message very clear,” Lynn said in Lyon. “This is not over yet.”

Additional Report by Daniel Dombi, Peter Wise, Guy Chazan և Clive Coxon

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