where are they in Italy? How to counter them? – Corriere.it

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How widespread is the Delta variant in Italy and Europe?
The run-up of the Delta variant also started in our country. From the 1 percent detected on May 18 by the Higher Institute of Health, by mid-June the strain had reached 3.4 in national sequencing, to rise to 9 percent a few days later. He takes care of monitoring the Ceinge-Advanced Biotechnology Institute of Naples, based on the sequences deposited in the international database Gisaid. But the real numbers could be far more troubling. Yesterday the president of Ceinge Pietro Forestieri spoke of an increase of up to 25%, according to the numbers provided by the Campania Region’s genomic surveillance plan: We must expect progressively and constantly higher numbers, with the deposit of further sequenced viruses. A confirmation of what was written by Financial Times: Italy fifth in the world for the percentage of cases due to the Delta variant. The forecasts of the European Center for Disease Control (Ecdc) are also black, according to which at the end of August the strain identified for the first time in India in October it could carry 90 percent of infections in Europe. therefore destined to become dominant, replacing the most widespread variant today, Alfa (English). already happened in Britain, which recorded a new peak of infections, over 16 thousand; 60% of the vaccinated population allowed to limit the number of hospitalizations and deaths. The situation has alarmed several countries including Israel, which has decided to postpone the entry of vaccinated tourists by one month (from 1 July to 1 August).

Which regions have already reported cases?
In Lombardy the Delta variant rose to 3.2%, but in Campania the largest number of cases: 83 in the Vesuvian and 44 in Torre del Greco. In Sassarese there are 15 infections, 3 in Teramo, at least 5 in Abruzzo. The strain is also present in Piedmont, Trentino-Alto Adige, Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Tuscany, Umbria, Puglia, Sicily and Lazio. The latter region has anticipated the recall of vaccinations with AstraZeneca to ensure, with two doses, better protection.



How can the advance of the variant be countered?
Prime Minister Mario Draghi urged to proceed with the vaccination campaign with maximum intensity. Unfortunately, preliminary data shows that the Delta variant can also infect individuals who have received only one dose of the currently available vaccines – said the director of the European Center for Disease Control, Andrea Ammon -. It is very likely that it will circulate widely during the summer, particularly among younger subjects who are not vaccinated: this could cause a risk for those who are not fully vaccinated. The second dose, he added, should be administered within the minimum interval, to speed up the time. I am aware that a significant effort on the part of public health authorities and society at large is required to achieve this goal. But now is the time to do everything possible. Another fundamental bulwark represented by the sequencing activity, in Italy still limited. Much remains to be done on this aspect – he underlines Carlo Federico Perno, director of the Microbiology Unit at the Bambino Ges pediatric hospital in Rome – but there is a commitment from the government that we hope will translate into concrete actions.

What could happen in the coming months?
Intense circulation of the virus, albeit with few serious cases and deaths, increases the risk of new mutations developing. The interest of any virus to replicate itself as much as possible without killing its host – he clarifies Pin -, in fact, the new variants are more transmissible than the previous ones but presumably no longer lethal. Leaving the virus free to run could develop and spread, by mistake (or rather, against the interest of the virus itself) more pathogenic mutations or mutations that escape vaccines. Fortunately, this has not happened so far. To keep Sars-CoV-2 under control there is only one solution: lock it in a cage, prevent it from circulating. To achieve this goal, as many people as possible with the two doses must be vaccinated quickly, all over the world. In Italy 30% of the population over 12, 16 and a half million people, received both injections (or the Johnson & Johnson single-dose). It is important to know that the first dose is only the beginning of the path – underlines Perno -: the immune system is activated, but with the recall, done in the right time, which is unleashed guaranteeing protection.

We are talking about the Delta plus variant: what is it?
The new strain was identified in India by the National Research Council’s Institute of Genomics and is found in three states. The Delta plus variant (AY.1) is spreading rapidly in the country: compared to the mother (Delta) has accumulated mutations that allow it to be transmitted more easily. Thus the Delta family expanded. In addition to the more well-known version, B.1.617.2, there are two others: B.1.617.1 and B.1.617.3, which are less troubling and both called Kappa. The full name of the Delta plus B.1.617.2.1, indicating the close relationship with the progenitor, from which it is distinguished above all by a mutation, the K417N (in the Spike protein), which it shares with the Beta strain, first sequenced in South Africa.

June 24, 2021 (change June 24, 2021 | 09:21)

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