Multiple virus strains have developed ever since the eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. The one known as Delta, on the other hand, is dominantly becoming the most difficult. The extremely infectious variety was discovered for the first time in India in December 2020, immediately inundating the country’s healthcare system. It reached 85 nations within six months and has become the most pervasive COVID-19 mutation.
People who are infected with Delta are hit with a higher load of virus— this means a higher expulsion of virus particles out in the open. The changes in the variation are also thought to improve its power to interact with cells in human passageways.
The rising number of new COVID-19 cases necessitates that cancer patients and their caregivers exercise extra caution to decrease their chance of infection. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also advising a booster dose, a third vaccine drive for immunocompromised individuals, including people undergoing cancer treatments (particularly blood cancer patients).
The Delta Variant— B.1.617.2
The Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is highly contagious, more infectious than prior variations by more than two times. Viruses live within the host, and when the host retaliates naturally or with the help of a vaccine, they may change. They are extremely adaptive and aggressive— the Alpha version of the coronavirus that triggered the COVID-19 pandemic has also mutated. Infections are spiking in various nations across Europe, South Africa, Brazil, and elsewhere as a result of mutations.
The virus has been replicated billions of times, resulting in many mutations. The mutations that endure are suspected to be the ones that spread the highest. While the Alpha variant is a substantial threat to cancer patients and those with weak/ weekend immunity, the Delta variation is believed to be more dangerous. According to researchers, it is about 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant with the potential to induce harsher symptoms and fatalities.
Studies reveal that people suffering from Delta infections are more likely to be hospitalized than those diagnosed with the Alpha variant. A Chinese study revealed 1000 times higher virus loads in Delta infections over infections caused by other variations. This has led the World Health Organization (WHO) to consider Delta as the quickest COVID-19 variation to date. The Delta version has also been demonstrated to pose a higher threat to children and young adults, particularly those under 13 years.
What are the options for cancer patients?
Are the COVID-19 vaccines effective in protecting immunocompromised cancer patients? Certain cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, and stem cell transplant can suppress the immune system, making the vaccine less productive. People with blood or lymph system tumors may have compromised immune systems, which may reduce the vaccine’s potency. So, the ultimate answer is— get vaccinated. Regardless of the level of effectiveness, having some sort of defense against the virus and its variants is preferable to having none. Cancer patients, carers, and family members (and everyone in general) can take steps to limit their risk of exposure by—
- Raising awareness about how our careless acts can adversely affect other people.
- Wearing a mask when they are among people and asking their family and caregivers to do the same.
- Staying away from huge groups or maintain a 6-feet distance between them and others when total avoidance is not possible.
- Using a hand sanitizer and washing their hands often.
- Staying at home if you are sick to prevent the spread of the virus.
- Cleaning and disinfecting all the things and places we touch regularly at home.
As the virus advances to mutate and generate, the world faces a threatening challenge. The COVID-19 variants keep finding new possible ways to evade the immune defenses. And the higher the number of infections, the higher the risk of mutations. As of now, vaccination is the only and most effective fight against the spread of the virus. Patients undergoing treatment or who have weaker immunity/ immune-compromised should consult their oncologists in Adelaide regarding vaccine scheduling, risks, and benefits. And They should also encourage their immediate family to nurse them and other dear ones to complete the vaccine doses.
Having a proper understanding of the delta variant, and what exactly can you do as a cancer patient, will help in the best treatment preparation. Reach out to the highly experienced cancer centers and oncologists in Adelaide with extensive knowledge, providing rapid access to the latest technology therapies.
Visit burnsidehospital.asn.au for more information COVID-19 Delta variant.