New research confirms hospitalization risk higher with four COVID-19 variants

People in Washington state infected with Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants have a higher risk of hospitalization compared to those infected with non-variant versions of SARS-CoV-2, according to new research from the Washington State Department of Health (DOH), in collaboration with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Institute for Disease Modeling at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and and UW Medicine Virology Lab. The variants Gamma and Beta have the highest estimated risk for hospitalization.

Additional research was conducted to examine the risk of hospitalization among people infected with these variants who were vaccinated and those who were unvaccinated. Overall, they found that people infected with Alpha, Beta, Gamma or Delta variants who were vaccinated had a lower risk of hospitalization.

When researchers looked at the variants separately, the same pattern of a lower risk of hospitalization for vaccinated people was seen in people infected with the Alpha, Gamma, or Delta variants. The Beta variant was excluded from this analysis due to the low number of Beta infections.

The study has been published on medRxiv, a free online archive and distribution server for unpublished manuscripts (preprints) in the medical, clinical, and related health sciences that have not yet been peer reviewed.