With 26% of cases, Italy ranks fifth in the world among the countries in which the circulation of the Delta variant is greater. This is evidenced by the estimate published by the Financial Times on the basis of the genetic sequences of the virus deposited in the international database of genetic data Gisaid and data from the Belgian research institute Sciensano. Estimates also indicate that the Delta variant is dominant in Great Britain and Portugal, where the concentration is 98% and 96%, respectively. The United States follows with 31%, then Italy (26%), Belgium (16%), Germany (15%), France (6.9%).
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The analysis of the Financial Times also indicates that in Great Britain, Portugal and Russia the increase in the diffusion of the Delta variant corresponds to a progressive decrease in the circulation of the Alfa variant. This trend is not yet present in the United States, Italy, Belgium and Germany, where the Alfa variant still seems to be the decidedly dominant one. Obtaining the greatest number of genetic sequences of the virus is essential to be able to follow the spread of the Delta variant, which according to some experts heard by the Financial Times is probably destined to supplant the Alpha variant everywhere due to the greater ease with which it is transmitted. The newspaper notes that, compared to the 500,000 sequences of the SarsCoV2 virus obtained from Great Britain, Germany obtained 130,000, France 47,000 and Spain 34,000. No data is reported for Italy.
Delta variant of Covid, what we know: from the origin to the contagiousness and effectiveness of vaccines
Sequencing “is expensive, takes time and has been neglected,” the director of the Institute of Global Health in Geneva, Antoine Flahault, notes in the Financial Times. The reason for the different pace at which the Delta variant is spreading in Europe remains to be clarified, but the point on which many agree is that one of the main counter measures is to accelerate the anti-Covid-19 vaccination campaigns. in order to slow the circulation of the virus as much as possible. “There is a message that we must all have very clear: it is not over”, observes in the newspaper the virologist Bruno Lina, of the “Claude Bernard” University of Lyon.
Epidemiologist Ciccozzi: “The Financial Times is not a scientifically validated voice”
«Surely the 1% circulation of the Delta variant in Italy, based on the latest survey by the Higher Institute of Health (ISS), is currently an underestimate, but we cannot yet say how much. However, the Financial Times is not a scientifically validated rumor ». Massimo Ciccozzi, full professor of Medical Statistics and Molecular Epidemiology at the Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome, underlines this with regard to the FT estimate which places Italy in fifth place in the world among the countries in which the circulation of the Delta variant is greater. . «The estimates – notes Ciccozzi – must be made according to what the surveillance system is and must not be made on the basis of other heterogeneous elements because this leads to an unreliable or in any case forced denominator. I would wait for the estimates of the ISS, which is scientifically accredited ».
In any case, the epidemiologist clarifies, «I believe that 1% of circulation is an underestimate, since all surveillance systems tend to underestimate anyway; the problem is to understand how much the underestimated share is ». The Delta variant, he specifies, «We know that it is certainly more contagious than the English one, so if we do not set the stakes it will become the prevailing one within a few months. But the way to prevent this variant from circulating is, essentially, to avoid travel, to quarantine all those who come from countries at risk even if through stopovers at different airports, and to vaccinate «. In addition, the expert concludes, “it is also important to remember that distance and masks must be strictly kept in case you only have one vaccination dose, since only the cycle with two vaccination doses has been shown to have complete coverage” .