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More data needed to establish if Delta COVID-19 variant is more deadly: Prof Puren

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Acting executive director of the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) Professor Adrian Puren says it is of great concern that Delta has become the dominant COVID-19 variant circulating the country.

Scientists have said that the Delta variant is more transmissible than others.

Prof Puren says whether it is more deadly is still to be established.

“I think that there is some important data that needs to come through. We have seen that it is highly transmissible.”

Prof Puren on Delta variant:

On the issue of reinfection, Prof Puren says, “The important consideration is whether this will translate to high rate of severe disease, it is possible this may be the case but all evidence is not in place for that. The important factors for example are in terms of reinfection, again I think there is some data from the UK that shows that might not be the case that you will have high rates of reinfections.”

Prof Puren reiterated warnings by health experts that other provinces will soon follow the current trend in Gauteng where a rapid rise in infections has put the health system under tremendous strain.

WHO warning

As South Africa battles with the spread of the Delta variant, the World Health Organisation has warned countries to be vigilant.

Sophie Mokoena has more:

 

Meanwhile, health experts are appealing to South Africans to refrain from social gatherings and adhere to all COVID-19 precautionary measures as the country battles to curb the highly transmissible Delta variant. Director of research at the KwaZulu-Natal Research Innovation and Sequencing Platform, Prof Tulio de Oliveira says preliminary evidence from the UK indicates that the delta variant is 30 to 60 percent more transmissible than other variants of concern.

“We are in the exponential stage of the pandemic which the numbers are just growing extremely fast and they will keep growing in the next weeks. And this variant displaces all the other ones and is the center of all the infections in the second phase that was circulating.”


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