Three Covid Variants in Jakarta
Head of the DKI Jakarta Health Agency, Widyastuti, said that three variants of COVID-19; Alpha from England, Beta from South Africa, and Delta from India, have been found in the country.
These three variants have been detected in 19 cases that have been examined by whole genome sequencing (WGS). He said the majority of the findings occurred in migrant workers who had a history of travel from other countries while only one – a health worker – is known to have been infected through local transmission.
“We don’t know for sure where (the trip) came from, but when it comes to migrant workers, they are positive,” she said.
Of the many new variants that are a mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the Delta variant is said to be the most contagious. This variant, also known as coronavirus B.1.617.2, was first discovered in India in October 2020.
So far, this variant has spread to at least 62 countries, including Indonesia. Reporting from ndtv.com, scientists from India said the Delta variant is 50 percent more infectious than the Alpha variant or the first variant of the coronavirus.
The symptoms are more severe. According to ABC News, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Brett Sutton, said there were anecdotal reports of greater disease severity in children compared to previous types. However, evidence of its severity is still preliminary.
The latest UK data shows that people are more likely to require hospitalisation when infected with the Delta variant compared to the Alpha variant.
“You are twice as likely to be hospitalised if you have that variant and 1.6 times more likely to be in the emergency department within two weeks of developing an infection,” said Deakin University epidemiologist, Catherine Bennett.
Symptoms of the Delta variant as presented by the professor of emergency medicine and international health at Johns Hopkins University, Dr Bhakti Hansoti, include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, joint pain and hearing loss.
Most patients infected with this virus also require medical treatment in hospital, even requiring oxygen assistance and they can suffer other complications.
Children are more susceptible to infection as well. The Public Health England (PHE) in the UK reported a slight increase in cases of COVID-19 in children in line with the increase in Delta strain infections in the community.
Officials in Scotland have also reported similar findings. At least 10 children have been hospitalised and authorities are currently investigating whether these infections are linked to the new strain.
PHE revealed in its latest research that the Pfizer/BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine is 96 percent effective while Oxford/AstraZeneca is 92 percent effective at preventing hospitalisation due to the Delta variant. According to PHE, this level of protection is equivalent to the effectiveness of the vaccine against the Alpha variant (B117) which was first identified in Kent, southeast England.
The analysis shows that, although the Delta variant reduces the effectiveness of the vaccine against symptomatic COVID-19, two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are still effective in protecting patients from severe symptoms.
“This very important finding proves that the vaccine provides significant protection against hospitalisation due to the Delta variant,” said Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE.
PHE is now undertaking further research to determine the effectiveness of the vaccines in reducing the risk of death from the Delta variant. So far, it is estimated that the level of effectiveness will be high.
Another study in Scotland showed that two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine among people who tested positive reduced the risk of hospitalisation by 70 percent. However, this study has not been based on an adequate number of hospital reports to compare the effectiveness of the vaccine in COVID-19 patients with the Delta variant.