Front Med (Lausanne). 2022 Jan 3;8:792135. doi: 10.3389/fmed.2021.792135. eCollection 2021.
Background: As delta variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) prevailed in the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, its clinical characteristics with the difference from those of wild-type strains have been little studied. Methods: We reported one cohort of 341 wild-type patients with COVID-19 admitted at Wuhan, China in 2020 and the other cohort of 336 delta variant patients with COVID-19 admitted at Yangzhou, China in 2021, with comparisons of their demographic information, medical history, clinical manifestation, and hematological data. Furthermore, within the delta variant cohort, patients with none, partial, and full vaccination were also compared to assess vaccine effectiveness. Findings: For a total of 677 patients with COVID-19 included in this study, their median age was 53.0 years [interquartile range (IQR): 38.0-66.0] and 46.8% were men. No difference was found in age, gender, and percentage of patients with the leading comorbidity between wild-type and delta variant cohorts, but delta variant cohort showed a lessened time interval between disease onset to hospitalization, a reduced portion of patients with smoking history, and a lowered frequency of clinical symptoms. For hematological parameters, most values demonstrated significant differences between wild-type and delta variant cohorts, while full vaccination rather than partial vaccination alleviated the disease condition. This reflected the viremic effect of delta variant when vaccination succeeds or fails to protect. Interpretation: Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 may cause severe disease profiles, but timely diagnosis and full vaccination could protect patients with COVID-19 from worsened disease progression.