Why the Coronavirus’ Delta Variant Dominated 2021

As 2021 has been a year of the coronavirus. Many types of viruses such as alpha, beta, and omicron have battled us this year. However, out of all these variants, the one that continues to play a huge role in the pandemic today is the Delta variant. The Delta variant was initially spotted in India the October of the year 2020. It then quickly swept around the world. What was remarkable and so terrifying about this Delta variant was that both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated population of people are vulnerable to getting infected with the virus. It was soon found that the reason why the Delta variant is so strong was that the people with the Delta variant made more of the virus and were capable of spreading the virus for a longer period of time than any other variant of the coronavirus. An example that shows how much more contagious the Delta variant can be that the Wuhan coronavirus, the virus that first set off the pandemic, might be spread to two to three other people, but with the Delta variant, it can be spread to around five to six people which is more than twice of that for the Wuhan coronavirus.

So how is the Delta variant different from the coronavirus, and what makes it so much more infective? The deviation and what makes the virus more contagious is the mutation in some of the proteins in the virus. A mutation in a certain protein located in the virus increases the amount of viral RNA that can be made. This can show that the mutation in the protein is the cause of the virus being more contagious. Some of the similar mutations in other variants have also resulted in a virus that is capable of spreading more easily compared to other viruses that do not have the mutations. Some of these other variants that were found to have these kinds of mutations include the alpha variant first found in the United Kingdom; the Beta variant first found in South Africa; the Gamma variant first noted in Brazil; and finally, the omicron variant first discovered in South Africa and Botswana. The scientists have not yet figured out how all these changes from the original virus to the Delta variant affect the virus’ ability to replicate or spread to others. In addition, the Delta variant continues to evolve today, changing in various ways over time. However, the scientists have zeroed on the mutations affecting the virus’ spike proteins because those spikes are what help the virus to latch onto and invade the human cells.

Altogether, these mutations help Delta variants break into the cell more quickly and perform serval tasks better than other variants do. And this is why in the year 2021, the Delta variant was able to become the most dominant variant of the coronavirus in the world.

Categories: Clinical