South Korea has confirmed the arrival in the country of the new Delta Plus COVID-19 variant, which some experts believe may be more dangerous than the original Delta strain driving surges across the globe.
The Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency said Tuesday that it has recorded two cases of the Delta Plus variant.
“The first case (in South Korea) was identified in a man in 40s who has no recent travel records,” the agency said.
KDCA official Park Young-joon said the agency tested around 280 people who were in contact with the man and found that his son was also positive for the virus, though it’s unclear if he was also infected was infected with Delta Plus.
The second case of the variant was detected in a traveler who returned from the US, the agency said.
The person had received both shots of AstraZeneca vaccine before the trip, Park said.
Several countries, including the United Kingdom, India and US, have already detected the strain, the Washington Post reported.
The strain has similar characteristics to the original Delta variant but also has a mutation in the spike protein called K417N, which was also found in the Beta variant.
Experts have warned that the Delta Plus variant may be more transmissible — and some studies have suggested that it has the ability to more easily attach itself to the lung cells.
The World Health Organization has labeled Delta Plus, which is also known as B.1.617.2.1, as a “variant of concern” — ad designation reserved for strains that appear to either are more transmissible, cause more severe disease or are more resistant to treatments.
With Post wires