Different symptoms may manifest in patients with Delta variant, says expert
MANILA, Philippines — COVID-19 patients with the Delta variant that was first detected in India may be manifesting different symptoms, the executive director of the University of the Philippines-National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH) said Wednesday.
Dr. Eva dela Paz, of the UP-NIH, noted that in Southeast China, there are reports that patients are becoming sicker and their conditions are deteriorating more quickly than patients who were treated at the start of the pandemic.
“It may be manifesting different symptoms,” said dela Paz, who is also a member of the technical working group formed by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases tasked to focus on COVID-19 variants.
She added that in the United Kingdom, participants of a study who tracked their daily symptoms through a smartphone app have shown changing symptoms “due to the rise of the new variant.”
“Ang nakita nila dito, it has shown changing symptoms of the new variant. Ang headache ang lumalabas na number one symptom according to the report from the UK,” Dela Paz added.
(They have observed changing symptoms of the new variant. Headache is the number one symptom according to the report from the UK.)
She also said that younger people who get infected with the Delta variant, also called the B.1.617.2 that has already spread to 85 countries, are more likely to not self-isolate.
“They saw that more younger people are being infected and they are more likely [to not self-isolate]. Itong younger people, because they mistake it for a common bad cold, they are likely not to self-isolate,” she explained.
Dela Paz noted that according to the World Health Organization, the Delta variant is the “fastest and fittest coronavirus strain yet,” and will “pick-off” the most vulnerable people, especially in places with low COVID-19 vaccination rates.
In the United Kingdom, the Delta variant has rapidly overtaken the Alpha variant (B.1.1.7) and currently accounts for more than 91 percent of their COVID-19 cases, according to Dela Paz.
The Delta variant is said to be 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which according to the health expert, was in itself 40 percent more transmissible than the original SARS-CoV-2. She said more people are also likely to get hospitalized when infected with the Delta variant.
On top of these, Dela Paz said that “one dose of the vaccine is less effective but two doses are still strongly protective” against the Delta variant.
“Data from the Public Health England found that a single dose of either AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine reduced a person’s risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms caused by the Delta variant by 33 percent, compared to 50 percent for the Alpha variant,” she said.
Meanwhile, a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine boosted protection against the Delta variant to 60 percent compared to 66 percent against the Alpha. Two doses of Pfizer were 88 percent effective against Delta as compared to 93 percent for the Alpha variant.
Citing the medical journal Lancet, Dela Paz also said that people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 are less likely to be admitted to a hospital due to the Delta variant as compared to unvaccinated individuals.
As of Monday, the Philippines has already reported 17 cases of the Delta variant, but all of them were detected at the country’s borders.
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