Story at a glance

  • A new study suggests COVID-19 infections from the delta variant carry a viral load 300 times greater than individuals infected with the original strain.
  • But it matches the viral loads of other variants after 10 days.
  • The data doesn’t mean it is 300 times more infectious, South Korean Health Ministry official Lee Sang-won said.

COVID-19 infections from the delta variant carry a viral load 300 times greater than individuals infected with the original strain, according to a South Korean Study. 

But The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said on Tuesday the load diminishes over time and by the fourth day, it decreases to 30 times more. It matches the viral loads of other variants after 10 days, Reuters reported.

Health ministry official Lee Sang-won said during a news conference that the increased load indicates the virus is more transmissible, which could lead to more cases and hospitalizations. 


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"But it doesn't mean Delta is 300 times more infectious...we think its transmission rate is 1.6 times the Alpha variant, and about two times the original version of the virus," Lee said, per Reuters. 

The study compared the viral load of 1,848 patients who contracted the delta variant with 22,106 people who were infected with other strains.

The rapid spread of the delta variant across the U.S. and the globe has led to a series of measures aimed at reducing spread, including the reintroduction of mask mandates in indoor spaces. Likewise, various U.S. localities have implemented vaccine mandates, which top health experts believe could become more common with the full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccines


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Current data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 51.5 percent of the total U.S. population is fully vaccinated. Global statistics indicate that 24.6 percent of the world’s population is fully vaccinated. Yet a mere 1.4 percent of populations in lower and middle income countries have had a one vaccine dose. 


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Published on Aug 24, 2021