Delta COVID-19 variant could be dominant in U.S., study finds

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The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) variant B.1.617.2, also known as the Delta variant, could be dominant in the United States in a few weeks, according to a new non-peer-reviewed preprint analysis.

The Delta variant has already become the dominant variant in England and other countries, the researchers said. The study served to determine whether B.1.617.2 was also displacing B.1.1.7 in the United States.

For the study, researchers analyzed PCR testing results and viral sequencing results of samples collected across the U.S. and showed that B.1.1.7 was rapidly being displaced and is no longer responsible for the majority of new cases. The percentage of SARS-CoV-2 positive cases that are B.1.1.7 dropped from 70 percent in April 2021 to 42 percent in six weeks, the researchers said.

The analysis showed rapid growth of variants B.1.617.2 and P.1 as the primary drivers for this displacement. Currently, the growth rate of B.1.617.2 was higher than P.1 in the U.S., which is consistent with reports from other countries.

The study comes as scientists speculate whether the available vaccinations can sufficiently target the Delta variant.

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