People infected with the Delta variant of Covid-19 have approximately double the risk for hospitalization compared to those infected with other varieties of the virus, according to a recent US study.
In addition, the risk for visiting the hospital emergency room due to symptoms of Covid-19 or being admitted to the hospital within 14 days of infection is 1.5 times higher with the Delta variant than the earlier version of the virus, researchers reported in the study published in Lancet Infectious Diseases.
“This study confirms previous findings that people infected with Delta are significantly more likely to require hospitalization than those with Alpha, although most cases included in the analysis were unvaccinated,” study co-author Gavin Dabrera said in a press release.
“We already know that vaccination offers excellent protection against Delta and it is vital that those who have not received two doses of vaccine do so as soon as possible,” said Dabrera, a consultant epidemiologist at the National Infection Service for Public Health England in London, where the research was conducted.
The Delta variant first was identified in India in the later winter, while the Alpha variant, or “U.K. variant,” first was reported in England in September, according to Dabrera and his colleagues.
Their findings are based on an analysis of healthcare data from more than 43,000 positive Covid-19 cases in England between March 29 and May 23, including information on vaccination status, emergency care attendance, hospital admission and other demographic characteristics.
In all cases included in the study, samples of the virus taken from patients underwent whole genome sequencing to confirm which variant had caused the infection, the researchers said.