Delta variant greatest threat to US, says Dr Fauci

White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci
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White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci

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The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is the "greatest threat" to America's attempt to eradicate the Covid pandemic, the country's leading infectious disease expert and White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci has warned

Washington: The highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus is the "greatest threat" to America's attempt to eradicate the Covid pandemic, the country's leading infectious disease expert and White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr Anthony Fauci has warned.

The variant, which was first detected in India, is more contagious and causes more severe disease than other circulating variants, he said on Tuesday during a White House Covid-19 response team briefing.

Fauci said the Delta variant now makes up more than 20 percent of all new cases in the US, nearly doubling from nearly 10 percent two weeks ago.

"Similar to the situation in the UK, the Delta variant is currently the greatest threat in the US to our attempt to eliminate COVID-19," Fauci told reporters during a virtual news conference.

However, the "good news" is that the US vaccines are effective against the Delta variant, said Dr Fauci, the head of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

Meanwhile, an expert panel of India's central drug authority recommended against granting permission to the Serum Institute of India to conduct the phase 2/3 trial of vaccine Covovax on children aged two to 17 years, sources said. The SII applied to the Drugs Controller General of India on Monday seeking permission for conducting a trial of Covovax on 920 children, 460 each in the 12-17 and 2-11 age groups, at 10 sites.

"The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) on COVID-19 of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation, which deliberated on the application, noted that the vaccine has not been approved in any country," a source said.

"It also recommended that the Pune-based company should submit the safety and immunogenicity data (of Covovax) from the ongoing clinical trial in adults for considering the conduct of a clinical trial in children," the source said.

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