"The Delta variant, also known as B.1.617.2, is the dominant variant in the UK – accounting for up to 75% of new coronavirus cases. It is believed to be more transmissible than the Alpha variant, and somewhat more resistant to Covid vaccines, particularly after just one dose.
Now a report from Public Health England has not only revealed that confirmed cases of the variant in the UK have risen to 12,431, up from 6,959 the week before, but that it appears to be linked to an increased risk of hospitalisation compared with the Alpha variant.
An analysis of 38,805 sequenced cases in England revealed that the Delta variant was associated with a 2.61 times higher risk of hospitalisation within 14 days of specimen date than the Alpha variant. There was a 1.67 times higher risk of A&E care within 14 days. These figures take into account factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, area of residence and vaccination status.
Data from Scotland supported the findings, also pointing to a more than twofold higher risk of hospitalisation for those infected with the Delta variant compared with the Alpha variant.
“Confirmatory analyses are required to confirm the magnitude of the change in risk and to explore the link to vaccination in more detail,” the document stated.
Prof Adam Finn of the University of Bristol and a member of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation said: “Although only a small number of cases end up in hospital, the proportion is about twice as high for Delta cases than Alpha cases in both England and Scotland.” he said. “The number of cases is still small, but if this trend continues and case numbers continue to rise quickly, that would point to a larger number of people being seriously affected as this variant continues to replace the alpha variant over coming weeks.”