4:13 PM, Feb 27, 2020


Ask Dr. Nandi: It's not just Delta other coronavirus variants also worry scientists

Posted at 4:41 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 17:43:06-04

(WXYZ) — The Delta COVID variant is considered a more dangerous strain, but it’s not the only variant that has scientists worried.

The Delta variant that was first identified in India definitely has been making headlines and gaining ground, not just in the US, but in many other countries. And that’s because the Delta variant is roughly 60% more infectious and can cause more severe disease.

But it's not the only strain that the CDC has deemed a “variant of concern”. The Gamma variant that was first detected in Brazil - and is also called the P.1 variant - is also gaining ground here in the US. And just like the Delta variant, the Gamma variant is more transmissible.

In fact, the CDC’s variant tracker shows that the Gamma variant is greater than 15% in many areas in the US. And it can be found in every state that the CDC tracks data in. And I find this to be very concerning because this particular variant has caused over 500,000 deaths in Brazil alone.

The Gamma variant is not the only variant that’s been found to be less responsive to antibody treatments, the Delta variant also has shown greater resistance.

As for vaccines, research has indicated that variants that are antibody-resistant could cause issues for vaccines like Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot dose.

While there is not a lot of data yet on J&J’s vaccine, experts do believe that it’ll still be effective and keep people out of the Intensive Care Unit. Which is what we want vaccines to do.

As for the two-dose vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna, it’s expected they will handle the variants quite well because of their potency and very high efficacy rates. So, once again, vaccines are still our best shot at keeping variants in check and keeping more people from getting severely ill and possibly dying from COVID.

Even if you’ve had COVID and recovered, it doesn’t mean you’re protected against the variants. Studies have shown that re-infection can happen. So be sure to get fully vaccinated.

Let’s keep these variants reigned in. And leave little room for them to evolve into something that’s possibly more dangerous than what we’re already dealing with.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.