No it’s not a new airline or streaming service ✈💻
“Delta Plus” refers to a bunch of different subvariants of the original Delta variant (1).”Delta Plus” is not an official term but rather one coined in the news (2).
“Plus” might give the impression that this is a more powerful variant. But there is no evidence as of now that they are any more dangerous than the original Delta (2). These subvariants have mutations to the coronavirus spike protein. Scientists have actually seen some of these mutations before, in the Beta variant (3). This had some worried, because these mutations helped Beta dodge certain antibodies (4). We’re still learning more, but early data found vaccines still offer good protection from serious illness (5). Monitoring for new variants and their impact is ongoing.
Wondering why it’s “Delta Plus” instead of it’s own letter? The World Health Organization uses the Greek alphabet for variants of concern or interest (6). If one of those variants starts to spread more easily, increases disease severity, or escapes vaccines, then it might receive a letter (7). Delta Plus variants aren’t that genetically distinct from Delta. If you think of all the different types of SARS-CoV-2 as a tree, Delta would be a big branch and the “Plus” variants would be stems branching off of it (2).
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