DHS Now Tracking SARS-CoV-2 Variant of Concern B.1.617.2, the Delta Variant
With the addition of new variant of concern, DHS urges vaccination to combat COVID-19
Today, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services released new information about the newest variant of concern(link is external), variant B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant. Following the CDC’s recent classification update on June 14, DHS will begin reporting current case counts that are updated weekly, starting tomorrow, June 17. This strain was previously classified as a variant of interest, but has since been raised to a variant of concern. The CDC has established criteria(link is external) for identifying variants that may be more worrisome than others. Variants are most commonly raised to variants of concern if they show evidence of being more contagious, causing more severe illness, or are more difficult to treat using known therapies. DHS, using CDC’s criteria, publicly reports on variants of concern.
To date, 26 cases of the Delta variant have been identified in Wisconsin since April 2021. Variants are identified through a process called whole genome sequencing(link is external). Whole genome sequencing takes a sample of the virus from a positive SARS-CoV-2 test specimen and reads its genetic code. DHS, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, and other laboratory partners regularly perform whole genome sequencing on a portion of positive tests.
The Delta variant was first discovered to be circulating in India in samples from October 2020, and has continued to spread to other parts of the world. It is attributed as the cause of a recent rise in cases in the U.K.
According to recent data, researchers believe the Delta variant spreads more rapidly and easily than the original strain of SARS-CoV-2. It is not yet known if this variant has any impact on disease severity. There is some evidence to suggest that therapeutics, such as monoclonal antibody treatments, may be less effective against this variant because of its unique mutations. Some laboratory studies have suggested that antibodies produced by the body in response to natural infection or a COVID-19 vaccine may be less effective at defending against the Delta variant virus than the original strain. Fortunately, the COVID-19 vaccines available in the U.S. have shown they provide some protection against the Delta variant.
As new variants emerge, it is essential to get vaccinated and continue public health practices to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Further mutations of the virus can be prevented as more people get vaccinated. By getting vaccinated, you stop the spread.
For up-to-date information about Wisconsin’s COVID-19 response, visit the DHS COVID-19 webpage. We encourage you to follow @DHSWI on Facebook(link is external), Twitter(link is external), or dhs.wi on Instagram(link is external) for more information on COVID-19.
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- Sen.Larson Statement on the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules - State Sen. Chris Larson - Aug 3rd, 2021
- City Hall: Proposal Requires Vaccinations for City Employees - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 2nd, 2021
- Can Health Officials Act Against Delta Variant? - Shamane Mills - Aug 2nd, 2021
- UWM Institutes Pandemic Restrictions - Henry Redman - Aug 1st, 2021
- MKE County: COVID-19 Metrics Show Disease Surging Countywide - Graham Kilmer - Jul 30th, 2021
- City Hall: Six Council Members Want Tougher Pandemic Rules - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 27th, 2021
- Officials Urge a Return to Mask Wearing - Graham Kilmer - Jul 27th, 2021
- MKE County: Plan Offers Vaccine Incentive for Jail, HOC - Graham Kilmer - Jul 26th, 2021
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