Health authorities in South Korea reported the country's first two cases of the delta plus COVID-19 variant on Tuesday, according to local reports.
Delta plus is a "subvariant" of the delta variant, which health authorities have blamed for the current rise in infections across the United States, and has now been diagnosed in more than 20 countries.
One of the Korean delta plus-positive patients is in his 40s and had not traveled recently, while the other returned from a trip to the U.S. on July 23, according to the Korea Herald. Both patients had been inoculated against COVID-19 with the AstraZeneca vaccine, according to Lee Sang-won, the head of the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency’s epidemiological investigations team.
A mutation called "K417N" is what distinguishes delta plus from the delta variant.
Health officials say the delta variant is more contagious than other known versions of the coronavirus.
The subvariant “appears to differ only slightly from delta in terms of its transmissibility or virulence," Lee said.
Delta plus adds to the list of coronavirus variants already preoccupying health authorities worldwide. For example, the lambda variant, first diagnosed in Peru, was responsible for more than 80% of new infections in the South American country over May and June.
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Original Author: Jeremy Beaman
Original Location: Delta plus COVID-19 variant reported in South Korea