Genetics, structure, transmission, epidemiology, immune response, and vaccine efficacies of the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant: A comprehensive review

Han Li, Chelsea Jane Arcalas, Junmin Song, Masoud Rahmati, Seoyeon Park, Ai Koyanagi, Seung Won Lee, Dong Keon Yon, Jae Il Shin, Lee Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) Delta variant (B.1.617.2) was the predominant variant behind the surges of COVID-19 in the United States, Europe, and India in the second half of 2021. The information available regarding the defining mutations and their effects on the structure, transmission, and vaccine efficacy of SARS-CoV-2 is constantly evolving. With waning vaccine immunity and relaxation of social distancing policies across the globe driving the increased spread of the Delta variant, there is a great need for a resource aggregating the most recent information for clinicians and researchers concerning the Delta variant. Accordingly, this narrative review comprehensively reviews the genetics, structure, epidemiology, clinical course, and vaccine efficacy of the Delta variant. Comparison with the omicron variant is also discussed. The Delta variant is defined by 15 mutations in the Spike protein, most of which increase affinity for the ACE-2 receptor or enhance immune escape. The Delta variant causes similar symptoms to prototypical COVID-19, but it is more likely to be severe, with a greater inflammatory phenotype and viral load. The reproduction number is estimated to be approximately twice the prototypical strains present during the early pandemic, and numerous breakthrough infections have been reported. Despite studies demonstrating breakthrough infection and reduced antibody neutralisation, full vaccination effectively reduces the likelihood of severe illness and hospitalisation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2408
JournalReviews in Medical Virology
Volume33
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023 May

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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