(Geneva) The World Health Organization announced Wednesday that it is closely monitoring infection of the AY.4.2 line of the delta variant of the coronavirus, which is increasingly present in COVID-19 infections.
“An increase in AY.4.2 sequence transmission has been observed since July,” the WHO notes in its weekly update on the pandemic.
The line has three additional mutations compared to the original delta variant, including two on the protein escalate, the part of the virus that clings to human cells.
4.2 sequences were uploaded to the global GISAID database from 43 countries: 93% from the United Kingdom, where a gradual increase in the proportion of new cases was observed. This percentage represents 5.9% of all cases of the delta variant reported in the UK during the week of 3 October.
According to the World Health Organization, “epidemiological and laboratory studies are underway” to determine whether AY.4.2 is more infectious or antibody attenuated.
The Covid-19 epidemic has killed more than 4.96 million people since the virus was discovered in China at the end of 2019, according to an AFP report from official sources. In total, more than 244 million cases have been identified.
Last week, the number of new cases rose 4% from the previous week, with 2.9 million new infections recorded. Europe is the only region in the world that has recorded an increase.
The total number of deaths rose 5% to more than 49,000.
Among the new infections, the proportion of those under the age of 25 has been increasing since the beginning of July, particularly in Europe and the Western Pacific.
The World Health Organization explains that the reason could be that the elderly receive more vaccinations, the young people have more social contact, or the virus is spreading in schools as face-to-face lessons gradually resume.
The organization has statistics by patient gender, covering only a portion (123 million) of identified cases of COVID-19.
Of these, 51% were women, but men accounted for 58% of deaths.
The mortality rate for people over 65 has also decreased since September 2020, possibly due to vaccination and better clinical management of patients, according to the World Health Organization.
Today, 47% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the World Health Organization.
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