‘Delta plus’ variant is being monitored as cases identified globally, including in Canada

Infectious diseases specialists are monitoring a new COVID-19 variant of concern that has emerged in multiple countries and that some fear could be more transmissible than the Delta variant, with the potential to be vaccine-evasive.The new variant called “Delta plus” has been labelled a variant of concern by the Indian government as it’s closely related to the Delta variant of COVID-19.On Wednesday, India also reported it has identified 40 cases of Delta plus.Cases have emerged in three Indian states: Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. Those states have been asked to strengthen public health measures along with increasing testing and vaccinations as India’s federal government has labelled the new variant as a “variant of concern.”One case of the Delta plus variant has been found in Canada, as well as several other countries including Japan (15), Nepal (three), Poland (nine), Portugal (22), Russia (one), Switzerland (18), Turkey (one) and the U.S. (83), according to June 16 data from Public Health England. No deaths have been reported for the Delta plus cases in the U.K. and India.Health Canada told the Star on Wednesday afternoon it is consulting colleagues to provide up-to-date information on Delta plus and it will release that as soon as possible. The more times a virus replicates, the higher the chance it will mutate, and it’s very likely we will see variants out of countries that have had a high burden of disease including the U.S., said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti. Occasionally, variants will have a spike protein that will have a higher viral load or will stick to your respiratory cells, like the Delta variant, said Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga. But there needs to be much more data found on Delta plus before assuming the new variant will have serious implications globally, and it’s important not to make assumptions without the evidence, said Chakrabarti. The Delta plus variant was first found by Public Health England in a bulletin published June 11. The new variant also has a spike protein mutation called K417N which was also identified in the Beta variant, first detected in South Africa. It’s extremely common and expected for viruses that are as widespread as COVID-19 to mutate, and not all variants will be classified as “variants of concern,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday. But the Indian government has classified Delta plus under this label likely because there is evidence the variant is more contagious or has the possibility of reducing vaccine efficacy, the news agency reported.The original Delta variant has spread worldwide and is currently fuelling COVID-19 cases in the U.K. that has halted its reopening process. The Delta variant has also affected several regions in Ontario and the province has sped up second doses in those areas as a result.Chakrabarti said that because the Alpha variant, first identified in the U.K., tore through Canada and ignited a third wave of the virus, the public is wary of variants. But now that 75 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and up have received a first dose, the protection the population has against these variants is much higher than before, he said.And it’s worse for the virus if it kills its host, as without a body to infect, the virus cannot transmit to anyone else. So it’s common for variants of viruses to become more transmissible, but not necessarily more deadly or vaccine-resistant, he said. “When these things come up, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. As time goes on we will see less and less variants,” he said. For instance, the Beta variant was shown to be more resistant to vaccines, but it was less transmissible and was pushed out by other variants and did not become a huge problem in Canada, he said. “As long as we keep the numbers low, and that includes on a global scale, that will also help solve the problem,” he said. With files from The Associated Press

‘Delta plus’ variant is being monitored as cases identified globally, including in Canada

Infectious diseases specialists are monitoring a new COVID-19 variant of concern that has emerged in multiple countries and that some fear could be more transmissible than the Delta variant, with the potential to be vaccine-evasive.

The new variant called “Delta plus” has been labelled a variant of concern by the Indian government as it’s closely related to the Delta variant of COVID-19.

On Wednesday, India also reported it has identified 40 cases of Delta plus.

Cases have emerged in three Indian states: Maharashtra, Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. Those states have been asked to strengthen public health measures along with increasing testing and vaccinations as India’s federal government has labelled the new variant as a “variant of concern.”

One case of the Delta plus variant has been found in Canada, as well as several other countries including Japan (15), Nepal (three), Poland (nine), Portugal (22), Russia (one), Switzerland (18), Turkey (one) and the U.S. (83), according to June 16 data from Public Health England.

No deaths have been reported for the Delta plus cases in the U.K. and India.

Health Canada told the Star on Wednesday afternoon it is consulting colleagues to provide up-to-date information on Delta plus and it will release that as soon as possible.

The more times a virus replicates, the higher the chance it will mutate, and it’s very likely we will see variants out of countries that have had a high burden of disease including the U.S., said Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti. Occasionally, variants will have a spike protein that will have a higher viral load or will stick to your respiratory cells, like the Delta variant, said Chakrabarti, an infectious disease specialist at Trillium Health Partners in Mississauga.

But there needs to be much more data found on Delta plus before assuming the new variant will have serious implications globally, and it’s important not to make assumptions without the evidence, said Chakrabarti.

The Delta plus variant was first found by Public Health England in a bulletin published June 11. The new variant also has a spike protein mutation called K417N which was also identified in the Beta variant, first detected in South Africa.

It’s extremely common and expected for viruses that are as widespread as COVID-19 to mutate, and not all variants will be classified as “variants of concern,” The Associated Press reported Wednesday. But the Indian government has classified Delta plus under this label likely because there is evidence the variant is more contagious or has the possibility of reducing vaccine efficacy, the news agency reported.

The original Delta variant has spread worldwide and is currently fuelling COVID-19 cases in the U.K. that has halted its reopening process. The Delta variant has also affected several regions in Ontario and the province has sped up second doses in those areas as a result.

Chakrabarti said that because the Alpha variant, first identified in the U.K., tore through Canada and ignited a third wave of the virus, the public is wary of variants. But now that 75 per cent of Ontarians aged 12 and up have received a first dose, the protection the population has against these variants is much higher than before, he said.

And it’s worse for the virus if it kills its host, as without a body to infect, the virus cannot transmit to anyone else. So it’s common for variants of viruses to become more transmissible, but not necessarily more deadly or vaccine-resistant, he said.

“When these things come up, it’s not necessarily the end of the world. As time goes on we will see less and less variants,” he said.

For instance, the Beta variant was shown to be more resistant to vaccines, but it was less transmissible and was pushed out by other variants and did not become a huge problem in Canada, he said.

“As long as we keep the numbers low, and that includes on a global scale, that will also help solve the problem,” he said.

With files from The Associated Press

Source : Toronto Star More   

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Go fourth and prosper: The Raptors’ surprise NBA draft slot has been occupied by the likes of Chris Bosh and Chris Paul

The Raptors beat the odds. How big will the payout be?After Toronto moved up from the No. 7 slot to No. 4 at Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, now the fun starts. Dozens of mock drafts, rankings and even trade scenarios will be plotted out in the weeks leading up to the July 29 draft. And as Raptors GM Bobby Webster said, “all of our options are open.”Many experts consider this one of the deepest draft classes in years, rife with teenaged prospects of varying skills and sizes.It’s fun to imagine what type of player might be available to the Raptors at No. 4. Will they add a useful rotation player like Shaun Livingston, a future all-star like Stephon Marbury, a Hall of Famer like Chris Bosh, or a prospect who doesn’t quite live up to the hype — hello, Dragan Bender.While every draft class is different and it’s impossible to predict how prospects will pan out long-term, here’s a list of all the fourth overall draft picks since 1990, ranked by number of all-star appearances.Braydon Holmyard is a Star sports team editor based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @braydonholmyard

Go fourth and prosper: The Raptors’ surprise NBA draft slot has been occupied by the likes of Chris Bosh and Chris Paul

The Raptors beat the odds. How big will the payout be?

After Toronto moved up from the No. 7 slot to No. 4 at Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, now the fun starts. Dozens of mock drafts, rankings and even trade scenarios will be plotted out in the weeks leading up to the July 29 draft. And as Raptors GM Bobby Webster said, “all of our options are open.”

Many experts consider this one of the deepest draft classes in years, rife with teenaged prospects of varying skills and sizes.

It’s fun to imagine what type of player might be available to the Raptors at No. 4. Will they add a useful rotation player like Shaun Livingston, a future all-star like Stephon Marbury, a Hall of Famer like Chris Bosh, or a prospect who doesn’t quite live up to the hype — hello, Dragan Bender.

While every draft class is different and it’s impossible to predict how prospects will pan out long-term, here’s a list of all the fourth overall draft picks since 1990, ranked by number of all-star appearances.

Braydon Holmyard is a Star sports team editor based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @braydonholmyard

Source : Toronto Star More   

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