Delta globally dominant variant, replacing other variants of concern: WHO
- The WHO has downgraded alpha, beta, gamma along with three other variants - eta, iota and kappa, as they are being outcompeted by delta.
The delta variant of Covid-19 is the globally dominant variant circulating around the world, out-competing the alpha, beta and gamma variants, Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization's (WHO) technical lead on Covid-19 told reporters on Wednesday. The delta variant has also become more fit and transmissible over time and is now actively replacing all other Covid-variants in circulation, Van Kerkhove added.
"Less than one percent each of Alpha, Beta and Gamma are currently circulating. It's really predominantly delta around the world," the health body official said on Wednesday.
“Delta has become more fit, it is more transmissible and it is out-competing, it is replacing the other viruses that are circulating," Kerkhove said during a social media interaction.
The WHO has downgraded alpha, beta, gamma along with three other variants - eta, iota and kappa - to “variants under monitoring”, indicating that they “no longer pose a major added risk to global public health” as they are being outcompeted by delta.
"This is really due to changes in circulation and that the variants of interest are just out-competed by the variants of concern. They're just not taking hold," Van Kerkhove added.
Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, also interacted with reporters in a social media session, warning that dip in number of cases is followed by spikes but countries with significant vaccination rate has less to worry about. “It shows us that vaccines work,” he said.
The delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, was first detected in India in late 2020.