WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday said the Covid-19 Delta variant, first identified in India, is “the most transmissible of the variants" detected so far.
Speaking at a press briefing, Tedros said the UN agency is concerned about the spread of the Delta strain that has been found in at least 85 countries, especially among unvaccinated populations.
“We are starting to see increases in transmission around the world," Tedros said, adding that more cases lead to hospitalizations, further stretching of health workers and health systems the increased risk of death. “As we have said, new variants are expected and will continue to be reported. That’s what viruses do. They evolve."
The WHO has so far given emergency approval to vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Sinopharm and Sinovac. WHO’s technical lead for Covid, Maria Van Kerkhove had said that two vaccine doses are needed for full-level protection against the Delta variant of the Sars-CoV-2 virus. However, the UN agency has warned against vaccine inequity as poor countries have received fewer than 2 per cent of the billion doses administered so far, making them highly vulnerable to the mutating virus.
Tedros warned that the unchecked circulation of the coronavirus could lead to the emergence of even more variants. “New variants are expected and will continue to be reported," Tedros said.
The Delta variant is highly transmissible and is listed as a “variant of concern” by WHO.