Study: India’s coronavirus strain doubles hospital admissions

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A Scottish study showed that the Delta strain of the Corona virus doubles the risk of hospitalization for patients compared to the previous strain prevailing in Britain, but two doses of the vaccine constitute a strong protection against it.

The study said that early evidence showed that vaccines protecting against infection with the delta strain, which was first discovered in India, may be less effective against the alpha strain, which first appeared in Kent, southeast England.

The study, published in the Lancet medical journal, included 19,543 cases and 377 hospitalized cases of Scotland’s 5.4 million people, and 7,723 cases and 134 hospitalized cases, all of which were Delta cases.

Chris Robertson, professor of public health and epidemiology at the University of Strathclyde, said the Delta strain, after adjusting for age and comorbidities, nearly doubled hospital admissions but vaccines still managed to reduce risks.

“If you are infected, two doses of the vaccine or one dose for 28 days reduces your odds of being hospitalized by about 70 percent,” he told reporters.

Two weeks after receiving the second dose, the Pfizer Biontech vaccine was shown to provide 79 percent protection against infection with the delta strain, compared to 92 percent protection against infection with the alpha strain. For the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, protection is about 60 percent for the delta strain and 73 percent for the alpha strain.

The researchers cautioned against using this data to compare vaccines with each other given the differences between those who received each type of vaccine and differences in how quickly each group’s immune response was.

They said two doses of the vaccine offer much more protection than the Delta strain than a single dose and that delaying lifting restrictions in England would help more people get the second dose and give an opportunity to complete building the immune response.

“I think any form of increased opportunity before restrictions are fully lifted would be beneficial,” said Aziz Sheikh, director of the Usher Institute at the University of Edinburgh.

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