CAMBRIDGE (DPA) – If you are infected with the delta version of the coronavirus, the risk of hospitalization is almost double that with the alpha version, according to a study.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge and the Public Health England Authority evaluated more than 40,000 coronavirus cases in England between the end of March and the end of May 2021. The results, published in the journal “Lancet Infectious Diseases,” relate primarily to the risk for unvaccinated people. The data do not allow any conclusions to be drawn for fully vaccinated individuals.
So far, studies have mainly shown high transferability of the delta variant; There was hardly a credible statement about the risk of severe courses. Scientists now use the results of thousands of positive tests assigned to Delta or Alpha through genetic analysis. About 9,000 went back to Delta, about 35,000 to Alpha. In relation to this, the researchers looked at the number of hospitalizations.
After adjusting the data for factors such as age and demographics, which generally increase the risk of developing serious illness, they found that Delta infected had an average 2.26-fold higher risk of hospitalization within two weeks of testing. . So the risk of going to the emergency room or being hospitalized within 14 days was 1.45 times higher with Delta than with Alpha.
Of the more than 40,000 cases examined in the study, only 1.8 percent were fully vaccinated, which the researchers interpret as further confirmation that the vaccines are very effective. Of those believed to be infected, 74 percent were unvaccinated, 24 percent were only partially vaccinated, that is, with only one vaccination dose. Due to the limited amount of data available for this, researchers are unable to make a statement about whether vaccinated individuals also have a higher risk of serious disease.
“Our analysis shows that a delta outbreak without vaccination represents a significantly higher burden to the health system than an alpha pandemic,” said one of the study authors, Anne Presanis of the University of Cambridge. “It is important to be fully vaccinated to reduce the risk of symptomatic infection and to reduce the risk of developing severe delta infection and requiring hospitalization.”
The authors cite the weaknesses of their study in that they had no data on their patients’ past illnesses. It is also possible that the hospital admission rules have changed during the trial period. The researchers at least tried to minimize these factors in their calculations as much as possible.
The delta version, which was initially perfected in India, is now dominant in many countries such as Great Britain and Germany. Experts predict that it will largely displace other forms around the world – until an even more contagious one spreads. Delta was first found in England in March.
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