People infected with the more transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus have a viral load 300 times higher than those infected with the original version of the Covid-19 virus at the time symptoms were first seen, a South Korean study found.
But the charge gradually decreased over time — becoming 30 times higher than the original after four days and 10 times higher than the original after nine days — and its level became similar to the other variants after 10 days of detection, according to an announcement by the Korean Agency for Disease Control and Prevention (KDCA) on Tuesday.
A higher viral load means that the virus is more easily transmitted from person to person, which increases the number of infections and hospitalizations, Lee Sang-won of the South Korean Ministry of Health told a news conference.
“But that doesn’t mean that the delta variant is 300 times more infectious… we believe its transmission rate is 1.6 times higher than the alpha variant, and about twice as high as the original version of the virus. ,” Lee said.
The delta variant of the new coronavirus was first identified in India, and the alpha variant in the UK.
To prevent the spread of the delta variant, now the dominant version of the virus, the KDCA urges the population to seek immediate testing for Covid-19 symptoms, and recommends that face-to-face encounters be avoided.
The rapid spread of the delta variant and low vaccination rates have caught much of Asia off guard, especially in emerging market countries, as the economies of Europe and North America reopen.
The study compared the viral loads of 1,848 patients infected with the delta variant to 22,106 people infected with other variants.
South Korea reported 1,509 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the national total to 239,287 infections, with 2,228 deaths.
The country has already administered at least the first dose of the vaccine to 51.2% of its 52 million inhabitants, and 23.9% of the population has received both doses.
Translation by Paulo Migliacci