Delta variant has a viral load ‘300 times greater’ than original Covid strain

The Delta variant can also still infect people that have been double jabbed (Getty)

The so-called Delta variant of the coronavirus has a viral load 300 times greater than the original Covid-19 strain.

That’s according to a South Korean study looking at the viral load of 1,848 Delta patients compared with with 22,106 people who had other strains.

The higher load means the virus spreads far more easily from person to person, increasing infections and hospitalisations.

The Delta variant is now overwhelmingly the dominant form of the virus in UK cases.

However, the scientists found the viral load gradually decreased over time. It was 30 times higher after four days and over 10 times higher after nine days.

By 10 days, it matched levels seen in other variants, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday.

Health ministry official Lee Sang-won told a news conference: ‘It doesn’t mean Delta is 300 times more infectious…we think its transmission rate is 1.6 times the Alpha variant, and about two times the original version of the virus.’

The Delta variant of the novel coronavirus was first identified in India and the Alpha variant in the UK.

To avoid the spread of the Delta variant, the KDCA urged people to immediately get tested when developing Covid-19 symptoms and avoid in-person meetings.

The rapid spread of the Delta variant and low vaccination rates have caught much of Asia off-guard, especially in emerging markets, even as economies in Europe and North America reopen.

South Korea has vaccinated 51.2% of its 52 million population with at least one dose of a vaccine, while 23.9% have been fully vaccinated.


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