Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 on the advance – Drosten: vaccinate quickly

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Despite the overall falling corona numbers, the delta variant of the virus, which is considered more contagious, is also on the rise in Germany. After several federal states have already reported that the proportion of the variant in new infections has recently increased noticeably, new data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) is expected this Wednesday evening. It is to be expected that the mutant, which was first discovered in India, has spread further in many parts of Germany – albeit at an overall low level.

In view of the development, the virologist Christian Drosten advocates raising awareness of the importance of vaccination. “That is really what we have to do now,” said the expert from the Berlin Charité in the podcast “Coronavirus Update” (NDR info). He did not decide whether a trend reversal could already occur in summer or in autumn due to the spread of the delta variant. In the fall, the incidence will definitely rise again, said Drosten and emphasized the importance of the vaccination for parents of school children.

“We just have to vaccinate quickly,” is the virologist’s appeal. If this is not enough, you have to counteract this again with contact restrictions. “But there are also good reasons to think that this will not be necessary in Germany.” In England where the corona situation has worsened again because of the delta variant, the seven-day incidence rose again from a level of 25. “You hadn’t slowed down as far as we’ve already done in Germany.”

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In this country, the value was last at 7.2 infections per week and 100,000 inhabitants, as can be seen from data from the Robert Koch Institute on Wednesday morning (previous day: 8.0; previous week: 13.2). The health authorities reported 1,016 new infections to the RKI within one day (previous week: 1,455).

In Germany, the proportion of the delta variant in a random sample according to data from the RKI was recently a good 6 percent (week from May 31 to June 6). That was an increase compared to the previous weeks, but the trend in the absolute number of records is declining. The new virus variant report from the Robert Koch Institute is expected on Wednesday evening. In the UK, Delta is already the dominant variant.

On Tuesday, several federal states reported that the proportion of the variant had also increased in them. According to Health Minister Kai Klose (Greens), it already accounts for more than a fifth of new infections in Hesse. “We have clear indications that Delta is now already dominating over 20 percent of the cases in Hesse,” he said.

In Bavaria, the number of confirmed infections with the Delta variant has almost doubled over the course of a week – from 132 to 229 cases, as State Chancellor Florian Herrmann (CSU) announced. In individual laboratories, the proportion is now almost a quarter. Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn (CDU) had recently stated that it was not a question of whether, but when Delta would determine the infection rate in Germany.

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The chairman of the World Medical Association, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, called for more attention to be given to “vaccination skeptics and vaccination deniers”. “If we do not convince a part of this group of the sense of vaccination, we will not achieve herd immunity,” said Montgomery the editorial network Germany (Wednesday). With a view to the Delta variant, he explained: “Those who do not get vaccinated will sooner or later become infected with the coronavirus.”

From our own laboratory data, there are initial indications that people infected with the delta variant have an even higher viral load than those infected with the alpha variant (B.1.1.7), reported Drosten. For him, previous data gave signals that delta caused somewhat more difficult courses. The protection against a severe course of the disease for fully vaccinated people is equivalent to the alpha variant, which is still dominant in Germany. However, the protection provided by the primary vaccination alone is considered to be weaker compared to the effect against previous forms of the virus.


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