Researchers around the world are keeping a close eye on a mutation of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus.
Israeli health officials confirmed earlier this week that an 11-year-old boy tested positive for the subvariant known as AY.4.2 after arriving at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv from Moldova. The boy was immediately placed in isolation and is said to be doing fine.
The AY.4.2 subvariant, which has been dubbed “delta plus,” has already been detected in Britain, Russia and the United States, but scientists have not determined if it poses a significant risk of being more contagious than the original version, which triggered a wave of new infections and deaths around the world during the third quarter of 2021, or whether it is more resistant to vaccines.
The AY.4.2 variant has not been categorized as either a “variant of interest” or “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.
Meanwhile, the Reuters news agency is reporting that India has delayed supplying COVID-19 vaccines to COVAX, the global vaccine sharing initiative backed by the World Health Organization.
India, the world’s biggest supplier of vaccines through the Serum Institute of India,
halted exports in April because it faced a humanitarian disaster due to a surge in new infections and deaths triggered by the delta variant, with hospitals filled to capacity and scores of makeshift crematories rushing to burn the dead.
Reuters says it has learned from two sources that WHO officials informed the Serum Institute that it could not “cut corners” in approval of Covaxin, India’s first domestically developed COVID-19 vaccine.
The Serum Institute has contracts to supply hundreds of millions of doses of a licensed version of the two-dose AstraZeneca vaccine to COVAX and countries such as Bangladesh.
In a related story, the Britain-based The Guardian newspaper says a new report has revealed that only one in seven COVID-19 vaccine doses promised to the world’s poorest countries has been delivered.
An analysis by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of non-governmental organizations including Oxfam and Amnesty International, shows that of the 1.8 billion doses that have been pledged by the world’s richest nations, 261 million, or 14 percent, have arrived in low-income nations. The report also says that out of 994 million doses promised by vaccine developers AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech to COVAX, only 120 million, or 12 percent, have been delivered.
The shortage has resulted in only 1.3 percent of people living in the world’s poorest nations to be fully vaccinated against the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Some information for this report came from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.