On Tuesday, the World Health Organization stated that the coronavirus variant Delta has expanded the three other COVID-19 variants that are now a small fraction of the samples sequenced.
“There are currently less than one percent in circulation for each Alpha, Beta and Gamma. It is actually mainly Delta worldwide, “said Maria Van Kerkhove, technical lead of the WHO on COVID-19.
The Delta variant, which was first detected in India last year, has become “more fit, it is more transmissible and it is out-competing, it is replacing the other viruses that are circulating,” she said and added that the variant has been detected in more than 185 nations till date.
The COVID-19 pandemic broke out in the world last year around March, the coronavirus was first detected in China’s Wuhan in December, All viruses mutate over time, including SARS-CoV-2 and the WHO during late 2020 started characterising variants of coronavirus as variants of interest, and variants of concern.
The health agency started doing this to inform the response to the pandemic as the emergence of new variants posed an increased risk to global public health.
There are five variants of interest, but the WHO COVID-19 technical lead said Eta, Iota, and Kappa were now being downgraded to variants under monitoring.
“This is really due to changes in circulation and that the variants of interest are just out-competed by the variants of concern. They’re just not taking hold,” she said.