Is there a way to know if you have the delta variant?

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 10:46 AM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Delta variant is the predominant strain in Wisconsin. So what does that mean for a person that tests positive for COVID?

The simple answer is that people do not necessarily need to be concerned with the variant because public health guidance remains the same for each variant. All viruses mutate or change, over time. Mutation can happen very slowly or more quickly. The longer a virus sticks around, the more time it has to change. When a virus changes, it is called a variant.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, and other laboratory partners regularly perform whole-genome sequencing on a portion of positive tests. DHS has also requested that clinicians identify cases that may be good candidates for genome sequencing, such as people who have traveled internationally or those who may have tested positive after being fully vaccinated.

DHS sequences genomes to understand which strains are present and how common the new strains are in communities.

In Wisconsin, most positive specimens are not sequenced, only a random portion are, at a few select/specialized labs. A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin DHS told NewsChannel 7, genomic sequencing results are for surveillance purposes only and will not be reported to the submitting provider or the patient.

Therapeutics, such as monoclonal antibody treatments, may be less effective on the delta variant cases because of its unique mutations. Additionally, the antibodies produced by the body in response to natural infection or a COVID-19 vaccine may not defend against the delta variant as well as the original strain of SARS-CoV-2.

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