A study published today in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases suggests that people with the delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be at greater risk of hospitalization with covid-19 than those with the alpha variant.
Study officials analyzed data from more than 40,000 cases of infection registered in England between March and May this year, and also concluded that “the risk of hospitalization or admission to intensive care in the 14 days following infection is also 1.45 times higher compared to a variable Alpha”.
The researchers determined which patients had each of the variants by looking at the genetic sequence of the virus.
Most of the 43,338 cases analyzed are of people who were not fully vaccinated or who had not yet completed a course of vaccination, highlighted one of the lead researchers, Gavin Cabrera, of the NHS.
“We already know that vaccination protects against deltas and that this variant is responsible for 98% of cases in the UK,” he said, noting that the study “confirms the results of previous studies.”
During the study period, 80% of verified cases were of the alpha variant, but as the analysis progressed, delta ended up becoming the most prevalent, causing two-thirds of new infections in the past week analyzed.
One in 50 patients was hospitalized within the first 14 days after being infected with SARS-CoV-2 and results showed an incidence of 2.26 times higher than admissions using the delta variant.
Only 1.8% of the subjects analyzed were fully vaccinated, 24% received the first two of the two doses and 74% were not vaccinated.
The study authors note, “No important conclusions can be drawn from this about how the risk of hospitalization differs between vaccinated people and those who develop infection with the alpha and delta variants.”
However, it can be concluded that “in the absence of vaccination, any outbreaks in the delta would burden the health services more than an alpha outbreak”, noted the University of Cambridge statistic Anne Brisanis.
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