The European Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that “it is very important to promote the introduction of vaccines at a very high speed” to prevent the spread of highly infectious variants.
By the end of August, Highly infectious Delta variant According to data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC), the new coronavirus infection is expected to account for 90% of new COVID-19 cases in the EU.
The warning issued by the health agency on Wednesday echoed a similar statement made by the World Health Organization last week, which stated that the mutation originally discovered in India is now dominating the world.
ECDC estimates that the Delta variant (B.1.617.2) is 40% to 60% more infectious than the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) first discovered in the UK, which is currently the main variant of the new coronavirus. Circulation within the group.
Due to its increased spread, Delta Air Lines has become a concern for many European governments, although most countries are taking steps to ease restrictions after the overall decline in new COVID-19 cases.
ECDC said: “Delta variants are likely to spread widely in the summer, especially among young people who are not suitable for vaccination.”
“If they are not fully vaccinated, this may put the more vulnerable people at risk of infection and cause serious illness and death.”
The center stated that “it is very important to promote the introduction of the vaccine at a very high speed” to prevent the spread of the variant and reduce its health impact. According to ECDC data, so far, about 30% of the EU population 80 years and older and about 40% of the population 60 years and older have not been fully vaccinated.
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Since most EU member states have not yet fully vaccinated one-third of their population, ECDC also urges countries to be cautious in relaxing containment measures aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.
The agency stated: “During the summer months, any relaxation of the strict non-pharmaceutical measures implemented in early June could lead to a rapid and significant increase in daily cases in all age groups.”
It added that this increase could in turn lead to “increased hospitalizations and deaths, and if no additional measures are taken, it may reach the level of the fall of 2020”.
However, ECDC stated that two doses of the approved COVID-19 vaccine provide “high protection” against the variant and its consequences.
A new study published by Oxford University researchers in the journal Cell claims that the COVID-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca and Pfizer is still widely effective against Delta variants.
Scientists studied the ability of antibodies in the blood of people who received two shots of the vaccine to neutralize more infectious mutations.
“There is no evidence of widespread escape, indicating that the current generation of vaccines will provide protection against the B.1.617 lineage,” the paper said.
Last week, an analysis by Public Health England (PHE) also showed that vaccines produced by Pfizer and AstraZeneca provide more than 90% protection against hospitalization of the Delta variant.
Researchers at the University of Oxford also analyzed the possibility of re-infection in people who had previously had COVID-19.
Judging from the ability of antibodies in blood samples to neutralize variants, the risk of reinfection with Delta variants is particularly high among individuals previously infected with the Beta and Gamma lineages found in South Africa and Brazil, respectively.
In contrast, the previously infected Alpha variant confers “reasonable” cross-protection against all variants of interest, making it a template for shaping the next generation of vaccines.
“[Alpha] It may be a candidate for the new variant vaccine that provides the broadest protection,” the researchers said.