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Member since: Tue Feb 24, 2004, 07:21 AM
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What we now know about how to fight the delta variant of COVID


Dr. J. Stacey Klutts

1. Like Gorilla Glue. The delta variant (lineage B.1.617.2) has a particular collection of mutations in the spike protein (that knob-like projection you see in renderings of the virus) that make it extremely effective in attaching to human cells and gaining entry. If the original COVID strains were covered in syrup, this variant is covered in ultrafast-drying Gorilla Super Glue (industrial strength).

2. 1,000 times higher. There are two recent publications which demonstrate that the viral loads in the back of the throats of infected patients are 1,000 times higher with the delta than with previous variants. I can tell you from data in my own labs, that is absolutely true. We are seeing viral signals we never saw last year using the exact same assays.

3. Much more infectious. This much higher load plus the ultra “stickiness” of the delta strains for adhering to human cells makes it remarkably more infectious than previous strains. You may have heard of R0 (Pronounced R naught) which is, in a nutshell, the number of people to which an infected person would be expected to transmit the virus. Early versions of the virus had a 2 to 2.5 R0 value. So one infected person would infect two or so people on average. Delta has an R0 of about eight! In the infectious disease world, that’s almost unheard of. Chickenpox and measles are about all we have ever seen that spread that efficiently from human to human. This changes the story line completely from earlier in the pandemic and makes this surge, in many ways, like a completely different pandemic event.

4. Five days. There is another recent publication out of Singapore with data that confirms something we suspected. I will explain more about the “why” on this below when I talk about vaccines, but the gist is this: The viral loads in the throats of vaccinated persons who become infected with delta rises at identical rates as in unvaccinated persons, but only for the first few days. After five days or so, the viral loads in the vaccinated person start to quickly drop whereas those in the unvaccinated person persist. This key set of observations is important for several reasons relating to vaccinated persons serving as vectors for spread.

More good info at link.
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