Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Delta 40% more transmissi­ble than Alpha variant, fears UK

- Agencies

The Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, also called B.1.617.2 that was first identified in India, is around 40% more transmissi­ble than the Alpha variant, the one first found in Kent, UK health secretary Matt Hancock said on Sunday.

The cabinet minister said the spread of the Delta variant, behind a recent rise in coronaviru­s infections in the country, has made the unlocking plans set for June 21 more difficult.

However, he pointed out that a majority of those in hospital as a result of the Delta variant haven’t had a vaccine at all and only a “small minority” have had both doses.

Hancock said it reflects the scientific advice that one vaccine is not quite as effective against the Delta variant as against the Alpha variant, but both doses are just as effective.

“That figure - around 40% more transmissi­ble - is the latest advice that I have. That means it is more difficult to manage this virus with the new Delta variant, but crucially we believe that with two doses of the vaccine, you get the same protection as against the old variant,” Hancock said.

He also confirmed that vaccines would be opened up to the next age group of under-30s in the next few days by the National Health Service (NHS).

Asked if there could be a delay to the June 21 timeline for an end to all lockdown restrictio­ns in the UK, Hancock said the government is “absolutely open” to a delay if it needs to happen.

Providence to trial its vaccine this month

A Canadian vaccine developer that announced a partnershi­p with an Indian firm last week is hoping to start phase two trials for its Covid-19 vaccine this month. Providence Therapeuti­cs, headquarte­red in Calgary,

Alberta, is confident that it will be able to send a shipment of the vaccine candidate PTX-COVID19-B to its Indian partner, Hyderabad-based Biological E, in July so that trials can start in India, too, prior to applicatio­n for emergency-use authorisat­ion from health authoritie­s.

Brad Sorenson, CEO of Providence, told HT the company expects to soon submit some additional data requested by Health Canada. “As soon as we have that, which it may be as early as next week, but I expect it’ll be within two weeks, we will submit that to Health Canada and we will proceed to our phase two trials,” Sorenson said.

Study: HIV+ woman had Covid-19 for 216 days

A study has revealed that a woman in South Africa with advanced HIV had carried the coronaviru­s for 216 days.

The case report, yet to be reviewed by peers, also says that the virus underwent more than 30 mutations. The report was published on Thursday. The 36-year-old woman has not been named. The mutations involved 13 to the spike proteins, which helps the virus escape the immune response, and 19 others, which could change its behaviour, according to the study.

US senators promise vaccines for Taiwan

The US will give Taiwan 750,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine, part of President Joe Biden’s move to share tens of millions of jabs globally, three American senators said on Sunday, after the selfruled island complained that China is hindering its efforts to secure vaccines as it battles an outbreak. Tammy Duckworth, who made a three-hour stop in Taiwan with Christophe­r Coons and Dan Sullivan, said their visit underscore­s US support for the democratic island.

 ?? REUTERS ?? Graduates wearing protective masks attend a ceremony at a campus in Makassar, Indonesia.
REUTERS Graduates wearing protective masks attend a ceremony at a campus in Makassar, Indonesia.

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