COVID-19. Delta Variant
The Delta variant causes more infections and spreads faster than early forms of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19
The Delta variant is more contagious. The Delta variant is highly contagious, more than 2x as contagious as previous variants.
Some data suggest the Delta variant might cause more severe illness than previous variants in unvaccinated people. In two different studies from Canada and Scotland, patients infected with the Delta variant were more likely to be hospitalized than patients infected with Alpha or the original virus that causes COVID-19. Even so, the vast majority of hospitalization and death caused by COVID-19 are in unvaccinated people.
Unvaccinated people remain the greatest concern. The greatest risk of transmission is among unvaccinated people who are much more likely to get infected and therefore transmit the virus. Fully vaccinated people get COVID-19 less often than unvaccinated people. People infected with the Delta variant, including fully vaccinated people with symptomatic breakthrough infections, can transmit the virus to others.
Fully vaccinated people with Delta variant infections can spread the virus to others. However, vaccinated people appear to spread the virus for a shorter time. For prior variants, lower amounts of viral genetic material were found in samples taken from fully vaccinated people who had infections than from unvaccinated people with COVID-19. For people infected with the Delta variant, similar amounts of viral genetic material have been found among both unvaccinated and fully vaccinated people. However, like prior variants, the amount of viral genetic material may go down faster in fully vaccinated people when compared to unvaccinated people. This means fully vaccinated people will likely spread the virus for less time than unvaccinated people.
Vaccines are highly effective, including against the Delta variant
The COVID-19 vaccines approved or authorized are highly effective at preventing severe disease and death, including against the Delta variant. But they are not 100% effective, and some fully vaccinated people will become infected and experience illness. For all people, the vaccine provides the best protection against serious illness and death.
Vaccines are playing a crucial role in limiting the spread of the virus and minimizing severe disease. Although vaccines are highly effective, they are not perfect, and there will be vaccine breakthrough infections. Millions of people are vaccinated, and that number is growing. This means that even though the risk of breakthrough infections is low, there will be thousands of fully vaccinated people who become infected and able to infect others, especially with the surging spread of the Delta variant. Low vaccination coverage in many communities is driving the current rapid surge in cases involving the Delta variant, which also increases the chances that even more concerning variants could emerge.
High vaccination coverage will reduce the spread of the virus and help prevent new variants from emerging.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we perform a molecular test for coronavirus (PCR test) with the ability to separate the Omicron and Delta variants. Coronavirus COVID-19, Omicron & Delta Variants