Singapore—Viral genomic sequencing performed at the National Public Health Laboratory has shown that the Delta variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in India, is Singapore’s major local virus strain.
At the end of last month, 550 Covid-19 cases in Singapore showed infections from this strain.
Among these cases are 428 local and 122 imported cases.
In comparison, only nine cases have been linked to the Beta mutation that was first found in South Africa.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health told Bloomberg News on Tuesday (June 8) that the “current understanding” is that certain strains, including the Delta mutation, “are more transmissible” and added, “Studies are ongoing to get a more complete understanding of these variants and we will adjust our strategies as more information is made available.”
The Delta variant has now been found in over six countries all over the globe since it first emerged in India six months ago, and according to Bloomberg, experts are concerned that the pandemic may be prolonged because of it.
The UK, where it has also become the dominant strain, is seeing a rapid spread and even surges in certain areas of England. It is responsible for over 60 per cent of infections.
In the US, noted immunologist Dr Anthony Fauci sounded a warning note on Tuesday, saying, “We cannot let that happen.”
The Delta variant is responsible for over 6 per cent of all infections in the United States, with the rate going as high as 18 per cent in certain states
Dr Fauci urged people to get vaccinated against Covid, warning the public that the strain may be associated with more severe illness and a higher rate of hospitalisation.
Some patients who have had the strain experienced such symptoms as hearing loss and blood clots leading to gangrene.
However, a new study from Public Health England has shown that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are 88 per cent effective against symptomatic disease from this strain.
MOH echoed this in a Covid update on June 8 from its expert committee, saying: “Despite concerns over the delta variant, emerging data shows that the mRNA vaccines continue to be effective. A study in the UK demonstrated that two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech mRNA vaccine confer about 88% protection against symptomatic COVID-19 even with the delta variant. While further studies are required before a definitive conclusion can be made, the available data globally indicates that substantial protection is preserved.”
The ministry, however, cautioned: “The protection of Sinovac against newer variants such as the delta variant and under real-world conditions remains unknown.”
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