People infected with the delta variant of the new coronavirus are at twice the risk of being hospitalized than those infected with the alpha variant, concludes a British study published on Saturday.
“Our analysis shows that, if we didn’t have vaccination, an epidemic linked to the delta variant would place a heavier burden on the health system,” said Anne Presanis, co-author of the study, published in The Lancet magazine.
It is known that the delta variant, first identified in India, is 40% to 60% more transmissible than alpha. There is little information about its virulence, but preliminary data collected in Scotland and Singapore suggest an increased risk of hospitalization and of developing the severe form of Covid-19.
The study authors analyzed data from more than 43,000 cases of Covid detected in England between March 29 and May 23, when the delta variant began to spread across that country. Crude data analysis shows no difference in admissions between those infected by delta (2.3%) and alpha (2.2%), but if other factors that influence the severity of Covid (age, ethnicity, vaccination status) are taken into account, the researchers calculate that the risk of being hospitalized multiplies by 2.26 in the case of delta.
In the total period, 80% of the cases corresponded to the alpha variant, and 20% to the delta, although the second one gains space over the weeks. Of the total infected, 74% had not been vaccinated, 24% had received a dose, and 1.8% had the full regimen.
Several studies have shown that vaccines maintain a very high efficacy in preventing severe forms of Covid, even with the delta variant, as long as the patient is fully vaccinated.
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