Israel’s Health Ministry reported on Tuesday that the first case of the AY.4.2 Delta variant, known as “Delta Plus,” has been identified in Israel in an 11-year-old boy who had returned from Moldova.
Delta Plus was first identified in July 2021 and has been identified in several countries in Europe, with the largest number of cases in the UK.
Health officials have been studying the variant and some have said there has been no indication that is more virulent or transmissible than other variants. The spokesperson for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the government was keeping a close eye on the variant but as of now, there is no evidence that is more transmissible.
However, other health officials say that it may be more infectious. The director of University College London’s Genetics Institute, Professor Francois Balloux, commented on the Delta Plus variant on Tuesday, stating: “Its trajectory in the UK hasn’t changed over the last 2 days. The increase also doesn’t seem region-specific, which may suggest A.Y.4.2 is intrinsically more transmissible, rather than being carried by a demographic event.”
Conversely, the dynamic of A.Y.4.2 looks different in Denmark, the other country with excellent surveillance in place besides the UK. After an initial rise to ~2%, it seems to be on its way out.
— Prof Francois Balloux (@BallouxFrancois) October 19, 2021
Former FDA commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb noted that the surge of COVID cases in the UK is concurrent with the increase in the number of Delta Plus cases. “UK reported its biggest one-day Covid case increase in 3 months just as the new delta variant AY.4 with the S:Y145H mutation in the spike reaches 8% of UK sequenced cases. We need urgent research to figure out if this delta plus is more transmissible, has partial immune evasion?”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)