Fauci urges vaccination to protect against Delta variant from India
White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said on Tuesday that more than 6 percent of the sequenced COVID-19 infections in the U.S. trace to the highly transmissible Delta variant that was first found in India.
The Delta variant, known by the scientific name B.1.617.2, has spread from where it was first discovered in India to 60 countries, including the U.K., where it has become the dominant strain making up more than 60 percent of cases.
Fauci warned the Delta variant is “essentially taking over” the U.K. as its transmissibility “appears to be greater” than the Alpha strain, also known as B.1.1.7, that had been the most prevalent in the country after it was first discovered.
What this means: The Alpha strain, that was originally found in the U.K., became the dominant strain in the U.S. by April, which suggests the Delta strain could follow.
“We cannot let that happen in the United States,” Fauci said during a press briefing, calling on people to get vaccinated, including the second dose, to combat the spread of the variant.
Evidence for second dose: Fauci, who is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or AstraZeneca vaccine “appear to be effective” against the Delta variant.
But three weeks after the first dose of the vaccines, both were 33 percent effective against symptomatic infections from the Delta strain.