RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A coronavirus variant known as the Delta variant is now the primary infection in the UK and has already reached North Carolina.
“If it has a Greek name like Delta that means it’s a variant of concern. It’s a variant that runs much quicker through the population than the others,” said Prof. Dirk Dittmer.
Dittmer teaches microbiology and immunology at UNC School of Medicine.
His team studies the genetic sequence of the virus that causes COVID-19.
“It’s in the state, it will be more infectious and it will attack people who are not vaccinated,” he said.
While not fully studied, doctors in India, where the variant originated, have reported some patients infected with the Delta variant suffered blood clots that led to gangrene and amputations.
After the first dose, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine can be as much as 85% effective.
But with the much more contagious Delta variant, the first dose is only about 50% effective.
“With this particular variant, even people who only get the first dose are still at 50% risk of getting infected. So you really want both doses of the vaccine to escape this variant,” said Dittmer.
This new variant is one more reason parents said they have to stay on top of it including any booster that may be on the horizon.
Heath McPherson is traveling soon with his twin daughters and brought them to Distribution Drive to be vaccinated.
“The difficult thing about dealing with mass infections is the virulence of it changes so dramatically. So I agree, it’s something we have to keep an eye on even after they get the shots,” he said.
Health officials remind everyone that there is plenty of vaccine available and that many clinics no longer require an appointment.