South Korea detects two new DeltaPlus COVID-19 variants


Seoul-South Korea has detected the first two cases of the new Deltaplus COVID-19 mutant, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said Tuesday when the country was fighting the fourth wave of infection.

The Delta Plus variant is a sub-strain of the Delta variant first identified in India and has acquired a peplomer mutation called K417N, which is also found in the Beta variant first identified in South Africa.

There are few reports of DeltaPlus cases, and a few countries, including the United Kingdom, Portugal and India, have reported some cases.

“The first case (in South Korea) was confirmed in a man in his 40s who had no recent travel records,” KDCA told Reuters. The sender is under investigation.

Approximately 280 people who came into contact with the man found that only his son was positive, KDCA official Park Yeon-jun told the briefing.

Park said it was unclear if his son was also infected with Delta Plus.

The second case was found in a traveler returning from the United States. The person had been vaccinated on both shots of AstraZeneca before the trip, Park said.

Health officials say some major vaccines are effective against highly contagious delta mutants that are already predominant in many countries, but new strains have released some vaccines. It raises concerns that it may be avoided.

Genetic analysis of 3,014 infections last week revealed that 64% were delta variants. According to KDCA data, it is clear that variants are also predominant in South Korea. Cases of fully vaccinated patients remained low.

Some scientists say that DeltaPlus variants may be even more contagious. Research is underway in India and around the world to test the efficacy of the vaccine against this mutation.

South Korea reported 1,202 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, causing a total of 202,203 infections and killing 2,104 people.

The country said on Tuesday that 20 million people, or 39 percent of their population, were given at least one vaccination while 14.1 percent were fully vaccinated.

South Korea aims to immunize at least 36 million people by September.

By Sangmi Cha