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The delta variant of the coronavirus can evade antibodies that target certain parts of the virus, according to a new study published Thursday in Nature. The findings provide an explanation for diminished effectiveness of the vaccines against delta, compared with other variants.

The variant, first identified in India, is believed to be about 60% more contagious than alpha, the version of the virus that thrashed Britain and much of Europe earlier this year, and perhaps twice as contagious as the original coronavirus. The delta variant is now driving outbreaks among unvaccinated populations in countries like Malaysia, Portugal, Indonesia and Australia.

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