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Delta variant in children: Chattogram reveals troubling data

Highly contagious delta variant of Coronavirus, identified first in India, has been detected among all recent Covid-19 cases among children of Chattogram.

Researchers came up with the conclusion after genome sequencing of 12 samples of children admitted to the Chattogram Maa o Shishu Hospital (Chattogram Mother and Child Care Hospital) and Chattogram General Hospital in between June to July first week.

A team of researchers of these hospitals and Chattogram University conducted the study.

Chattogram General Hospital Corona unit chief Abdur Rab Masum, a member of the research team, said,”

This research is still going on.

The sequence data from the study were published in the ‘Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data’, a German-based international database of global viruses. On Saturday morning, they published the information on their website.

The study found that 80 percent of the affected children are below 10 years of age. The Delta type has been identified among the lowest eight months old infants.

Although prior studies of the same team revealed Covid transmission is more among men and exception was found in case of children. The Chattogram researchers found 50% of the positive cases were boys while the other 50 % were girls.

The study also revealed that 95% of the children had fever and 80% had cold and cough, while only one child was completely asymptomatic.

Chattogram General Hospital’s physician Dr Hamidullah Mehdi, who led the study, said observations over the last four months have shown that there were Covid outbreaks by Alpha and Beta variants in Chattogram till May.

But the Delta type has been seen in 90 percent of the patients since June.

“The most worrying aspect is the significant increase in Delta infections in children,” he said.

Sanjay Kanti Biswas, one of the members of the research team, said, “We’ve not seen coronavirus transmission among children at such a significant rate in the last one year.

But the number of infections and severity have increased since last June.”

“Our research shows that this is due to the Delta variant of the virus. As young children are unable to express their feelings or weaknesses, many won’t be subjected to corona tests or identification, which is also a matter of concern,” he added.

A research of the Virology Department of Icddr’b, led by Dr Mustafizur Rahman and Dr Md Enayet Hossain, supervised the genome sequencing.

The Covid-19 Delta variant is highly contagious and spreads rapidly in unvaccinated individuals.

On June 23, Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and chief medical advisor to the president of the United States commented that children “will more likely get infected” with this variant than the Alpha variety. This sparked some concern across the world from parents, however experts suggested that there is no need to panic as Covid-19 fatality among children is still very insignificant.