Israeli study: Delta could trigger new Covid wave

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Healthcare worker takes swab samples from Israelis at a Covid testing facility in Tel Aviv, March 23, 2022.
Yossi Aloni/Flash90Healthcare worker takes swab samples from Israelis at a Covid testing facility in Tel Aviv, March 23, 2022.

Omicron failed to wipe delta out, Ben-Gurion University study says

The highly contagious and dangerous delta variant of Covid-19 could make a global comeback this summer, an Israeli study deploying wastewater-based epidemiology claimed. 

The paper — entitled "Managing an evolving pandemic: Cryptic circulation of the Delta variant during the Omicron rise" and published April 30 by Ben Gurion University researchers — says that continuing undetected circulation of the delta strain "may result in the reemergence of a Delta morbidity wave or in the possible generation of a new threatening variant" as soon as this summer.

First identified in India in late 2020, delta swept rapidly through the world, becoming the predominant Covid variant, leading to an overwhelming increase in deaths and hospitalizations. 

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Omicron replaced delta as the predominant variant; however in March 2022, the CDC still included delta on its list of variants of concern in the US, even though it accounted for a negligible number of Covid cases at the time.

According to the Ben-Gurion University study, omicron didn't wipe out delta completely, breaking the usual pattern among pandemic strands and attesting to the rare resilience of the earlier variant. 

“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,” one of the study's authors, Ben-Gurion University Prof. Ariel Kushmaro, told The Times of Israel.

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