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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Israeli Scientists Warn of Delta Comeback in Summer

Israeli researchers are warning the world will witness another coronavirus outbreak this summer with either a new strain or a return of the Delta variant.

A peer-reviewed modeling study published last week found while Delta eliminated the variants that preceded it, Omicron did not do the same for Delta. The study from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) isolated variants in wastewater, indicating where the virus is still active.

According to biotech engineer, Professor Ariel Kushmaro, and researcher Karin Yaniv, Omicron and its numerous subvariants are likely to burn themselves out in the coming months but Delta may well be waiting to reemerge.

“Our findings highlight that the pandemic is not over and suggest that sooner or later there will be another wave, potentially in the summer or at the end of the summer,” Kushmaro told the Times of Israel, echoing claims made elsewhere.

“In the past, we saw that when one variant rises, others disappear; but this just doesn’t seem to have happened with Delta, which seems to have a certain ability to survive,” he said.

“In this study, we identified that even when Omicron was at its very highest in the wastewater, Delta was still circulating,” he added. “The patterns we see indicate that Omicron is in demise, but Delta has survived and is positioned to possibly reemerge.”

Wastewater-based epidemiology is a useful representative tool for pandemic containment, the researchers maintained.

Kushmaro and Yaniv asserted that Delta will likely continue to circulate, called cryptic circulation, undetected until another wave emerges.

“According to the developed model, it can be expected that the Omicron levels will decrease until eliminated, while Delta variant will maintain its cryptic circulation,” they wrote. “If this comes to pass, the mentioned cryptic circulation may result in the reemergence of a Delta morbidity wave or in the possible generation of a new threatening variant.”

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