According to a coronavirus prevalence survey conducted in the United Kingdom, a subvariant of Delta that is rising in the country is less likely to cause symptomatic COVID-19 infection, with total cases dropping from a peak in October.
The REACT-1 study from Imperial College London found that the subvariant known as AY.4.2 had been detected in nearly 12 percent of samples sequenced, but only a third of those had ‘classic’ COVID symptoms, compared to nearly half of those with the currently dominant Delta lineage AY.4.
Although AY.4.2 is expected to be more transmissible than Delta, no evidence has been found that it causes more severe diseases or evades vaccinations more easily.
Asymptomatic people might self-isolate less are less likely to become severely ill. The lack of symptoms can also reduce the spread of virus through coughing, researchers remarked.
Imperial epidemiologist, Paul Elliott, told reporters that eventhough it appeared to be preferentially more transmissible , it was less symptomatic, which was beneficial.
Imperial college had earlier disclosed initial results showing that COVID-19 prevalence was at an all-time high in October, with children being the most infected.