Doctor Jeffrey Klausner on the Delta Variant

Today we’re sitting down with Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, who’s been a professor at UCLA and is currently a clinical professor of Medicine at USC.  

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner is an expert in infectious disease prevention and control. He is a frequent advisor to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO). 

We’re discussing the Delta variant, how it differs from the original COVID strain, and what projections are for this variant.

 

Here are some of the questions covered in this interview video with Dr. Jeffrey Klausner:

  • What is the background about Delta? How exactly does it differ from other strains?
  • Can you talk about the spike-protein sequence in the virus?
  • Is Delta more biological than other strains?
  • Why are Delta infection rates so high? Can you break it down in layman’s terms?
  • Should vaccinated people mask up? What is your opinion on mask mandates?
  • Do you think something like Delta is just the beginning of a long chain of mutations to come in the COVID pandemic?
  • We know you’ve done a lot of features in this space since March 2020, but in your professional career, did you ever foresee something like this happening on a global scale? 
  • What are common misconceptions people have? How can we combat these misconceptions and communicate more effectively?

 

Key Takeaways on our Conversation about the Delta Variant with Dr. Klausner

COVID-19 is caused by the SARS Cov 2 virus, which mutates. Every time a virus mutates in a certain key portion (receptor binding domain) of the virus, that’s considered a variant. The spike protein is how the virus attaches to the cell and invades the body. Keep in mind that a variant is different from a mutation, as a mutation would transform into a different virus altogether. Variants show small changes in the spike protein, and Delta is a recent variant of COVID-19 that’s been increasing. The higher amount of virus in the secretions causes an increased likelihood of the spread of the Delta variant- it’s much easier to spread. . The most important thing we can currently do is to promote vaccination, as infections are mainly spreading amongst unvaccinated people. 

As a former CDC Medical Officer, Doctor Klausner would say that there’s always been preparation for pandemics. There had been anticipation and preparation for influenza. It was a surprise that this was a Coronavirus pandemic. The idea of a pandemic wasn’t necessarily a big surprise, but the fact that it was a Coronavirus was.

What did you learn from this video?

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