THE first case of the new Delta Plus variant of coronavirus has been detected in the region.
The health department confirmed on Thursday that the case had been found at Elche’s Hospital General. The centre in Elche was also the first in the region to discover other new strains of the virus, the Beta variant which came from South African and the Delta variant which was first detected in India.
It’s no coincidence that Elche should be the first to discover new strains of the virus as the hospital has one of the region’s four genome sequencing platforms owned by FISABIO, (Foundation for Health and Biomedical Investigation in the Valencia Region). The others are in the General Hospitals of Valencia, Castellón and Alicante.
Due to data protection, it is not known if the patient with the Delta Plus strain is one of those currently being treated in hospital in Elche or somebody isolating at home. It could equally be a person from a different town, as samples are brought to Elche for testing from other health centres in the area. If a doctor notices a different evolution of the virus in a patient, or that they are not responding to treatment, the appearance of a new variant may be suspected and a sample sent to be genome sequenced.
Experts continue to ask the 10% of the population who have chosen not to be vaccinated to do so, While vaccination dramatically reduces the number of people becoming seriously ill or dying from coronavirus, it does not stop infection.
Doctor Francisco Jover, a specialist in infectious diseases at Alicante’s Sant Joan Hospital, explained that the virus will go for anyone and while there are still people who are unvaccinated, it is complicated to keep up immunity. As reported on the news site Información, he estimates that herd immunity can be reached if 90% of the population is vaccinated, but he regrets that this reluctant 10% not only stops the herd immunity effect but “they can infect others because the current vaccines prevent the illness but not infection.”
Earlier in the week Valencia health minister, Ana Barceló pleaded with the 10% who “should have been vaccinated against Coivd-19 and haven’t” to think again and get the jab.