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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Alpha variant of Covid-19 makes up 9 in 10 infections

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: The Alpha variant of Covid-19 is most prevalent, but other strains are in Thailand. (via Wikimedia)

The Department of Medical Sciences confirmed today that nearly 90% of all Covid-19 infections in Thailand are from the newly-labelled Alpha variant. The strain, previously known as the UK variant as it was first identified in the United Kingdom, was found in 88.48% of 4,185 cases that university labs studied between April and June, with 3,703 infections of the Alpha variant.

The remaining infections found just over 8.3% to be the Delta variant first identified in India, and 2.3% to be strains first found in China, including the B.1 (dade G), B.1 (dade GH), and B.1.1.1 (dade GR) variants, which demonstrate the need for the recently implemented Greek alphabet naming system.

2 more strains were found in 0.6% and 0.2% of people – the Beta variant first identified in Africa and the B.1.524 variant which has been seen in Malaysia respectively.

The bad news is the Alpha variant is more contagious and more lethal according to studies by the World Health Organisation and Public Health England, but a bit of silver lining: the current vaccines used in Thailand are effective against the strain. (Note: “silver lining” is an idiom, vaccines do not have magnetic metal in them.)

The Beta variant (originally found in Africa) has not spread as quickly as other strains, but it has been more deadly than the original variant. The Delta variant (originally spotted in India) has the opposite stats, being much more contagious, but much less deadly with less damaging infections. Vaccinations have been effective in battling the Delta variant, which was said by the UK Health Minister to be 40% more contagious than the Alpha variant.

Getting 2 doses of any vaccines following recommended timelines is of essential importance, as only 1 jab is far less effective, and waiting too long for the second dose may also reduce effectiveness. Evidence shows this to be true for both the Alpha and Delta variants.

Studies show 3 weeks after a first dose vaccines are 50% effective against the Alpha variant and 33% effective against the Delta variant. After full vaccination with AstraZeneca, people were 66% protected against the Alpha strain and 60% protected against the Delta strain. The Pfizer vaccine not yet available in Thailand has been found to be 93% effective against the Alpha variant and 88% effective against the Delta variant.

Need a reminder of which variant is which as the world switches over to the Greek alphabet names? We do too:

Alpha B.1.1.7 United Kingdom
Beta B.1.351 South Africa
Gamma P.1 Brazil
Delta B.1.617.2 India
Epsilon B.1.427 / B.1.429 United States
Zeta P.2 Brazil
Eta B.1.525 Multiple locations
Theta P.3 Philippines
Iota B.1.526 United States
Kappa B,1,617.1 India

For information on Covid-19 Insurance, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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