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As more of us are getting vaccinated and lockdown restrictions are easing, there appears to be a sign of cautious optimism that we are overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic.
Recently though, there has been more attention paid to different variations of the virus. In particular, the now dominant strain in the UK: Delta. It's a highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, which was first identified in India in December, and then swept rapidly across the UK, which has led to rising numbers of infections.
As it's recently predicted that the Delta variant will soon become the dominant variant in other parts of the world too, Tim speaks to Professor Wendy Barclay about what makes this particular strain so dominant, and how well our vaccines are working against it.
Lead investigator on the ZOE Covid Study app
Prof. Tim Spector is a scientific co-founder at ZOE, lead scientist of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, professor of genetic epidemiology and director of the TwinsUK Registry at King's College, London. Having published over 800 research articles, he is ranked in the top 1% of the world's most-cited scientists by Thomson-Reuters. He is also a prolific writer, with several popular science books including 'The Diet Myth' and 'Spoon-Fed'.
Action Medical Research Chair in Virology and Head of the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London
Wendy’s expertise is in the field of respiratory viruses, in particular influenza virus but now also SARS-CoV-2, and the mechanisms by which viruses can cross from animal sources into humans to cause new pandemics.
Her leading role in virology has resulted in her expertise being widely sought on advisory boards, and she has also worked extensively with the Science Media Centre, whose aim is to improve the relationship between scientists and the media.