By Orville Williams
Residents in Antigua and Barbuda are again being urged to take advantage of the available Covid-19 vaccines, but this time, in considering the threat posed by the ‘Delta Plus’ variant of the virus.
According to reports, the Delta Plus was first identified in Europe in March and has since been detected in India, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries to include Antigua and Barbuda.
In August, Dr. Lester Simon, Head of the Laboratory at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre and Chairman of National Technical Working Group on Vaccines said the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 is fuelling the surge in Covid-19 cases in Antigua & Barbuda.
Sample data showed that dozens of that type of variant including its sub lineages, ‘Delta Plus’ had been identified in covid patients in Antigua and Barbuda.
As early as last week, the doctor said that majority of covid infections in the country were due to the delta variant.
The resident physician on the sister isle, Dr Jeremy Deazle, said everyone should be on alert, follow the protocols and get vaccinated to reduce the chances of becoming infected with virus.
“We’re definitely keeping our eye on that mutated version of the Delta variant.”
“We are unsure what havoc it will cause in the upcoming days and weeks, whether it’s highly transmissible or more transmissible than the original Delta variant, so I encourage persons to keep following the Covid protocols that are in place. I also encourage persons who are not vaccinated to go out and get their vaccine,” Dr Deazle advised.
Despite the initial concern surrounding the Delta Plus, some health experts insist that more data is needed to determine the level of transmissibility, whether the variant is causing more severe disease in patients, and whether it is easily neutralised by the antibodies generated by the available vaccines.