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WHO officials try to figure out why delta is so much more dangerous than earlier Covid strains

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World Health Organization officials said they are still trying to understand why the delta variant is more transmissible and potentially makes people sicker than the original coronavirus strain.

“We’re really trying to get a better handle on why the delta variant is more transmissible,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’S technical lead on Covid-19, said at a press briefing Friday. “There are certain mutations in the delta variant that, for example, allow the virus to adhere to a cell more easily. There is some laboratory studies that suggest that there’s increased replication in some of the modeled human airway systems.”

New data is emerging around the world on the highly transmissible strain in recent weeks as scientists try to better understand the new threat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned lawmakers Thursday that new research indicates the delta strain is more contagious than swine flu, the common cold and polio. It is as contagious as chickenpox. It also appears to have a longer transmission window than the original Covid-19 strain and may make older people sicker, even if they’ve been fully vaccinated.

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