Delta variant may be most contagious virus ever: Smallpox eradication pioneer


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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread throughout the globe, a senior epidemiologist has cautioned that unless global vaccination efforts are prioritised, new viral variations may develop.

Larry Brilliant was a member of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) smallpox eradication team. Brilliant is currently the founder and CEO of Pandefense Advisory, which specialises in pandemic response. Brilliant had spent over a decade in India as part of the WHO’s efforts to eliminate smallpox.

Brilliant cautioned that the delta form of COVID-19 “may be the most contagious virus” ever in an interview with CNBC in the United States on Sunday.

“I believe we are closer to the start than the finish [of the pandemic], and it isn’t because the variation we’re looking at right now will persist that long… There will still be new variations until we vaccinate everyone in 200+ countries,” Brilliant told CNBC.

Pattern of the delta spread

Brilliant remarked that “delta variant spreads so rapidly that ‘it virtually runs out of candidates’ to infect,” according to CNBC, using a prediction model he built to map the COVID outbreaks in San Francisco and New York. The character of the delta epidemics in India and the United Kingdom supported this theory.

“That might indicate that this is a six-month rather than a two-year phenomenon in a country. However, I should point you that this is the delta variation, and we haven’t run out of Greek letters yet, so there might be more to come “CNBC was informed by Brilliant.

Brilliant reasoned that the chances of a ‘super version’ of COVID arising were extremely slim. He went on to say that such an outbreak would be disastrous, and he emphasised the importance of universal immunisation.

Because of their weakened immune systems, those over 65 who were completely vaccinated over six months ago may require a booster injection, according to Brilliant.


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