Clinical and Virological Characteristics of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) B.1.617.2 (Delta) Variant: A Prospective Cohort Study

Sunghee Park, So Yun Lim, Ji Yeun Kim, Heedo Park, Joon Seo Lim, Seongman Bae, Jeonghun Kim, Jiwon Jung, Min Jae Kim, Yong Pil Chong, Sang Ho Choi, Sang Oh Lee, Yang Soo Kim, Man Seong Park, Sung Han Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Data on the clinical and virological characteristics of the Delta variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are limited. This prospective cohort study compared the characteristics of the Delta variant to other variants. Methods: Adult patients with mild coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) who agreed to daily saliva sampling at a community isolation facility in South Korea between July and August 2021 were enrolled. Scores of 28 COVID-19-related symptoms were recorded daily. The genomic RNA and subgenomic RNA from saliva samples were measured by real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Cell cultures were performed on saliva samples with positive genomic RNA results. Results: A total of 141 patients (Delta group, n = 108 [77%]; non-Delta group, n = 33 [23%]) were enrolled. Myalgia was more common in the Delta group than in the non-Delta group (52% vs 27%, P = .03). Total symptom scores were significantly higher in the Delta group between days 3 and 10 after symptom onset. Initial genomic RNA titers were similar between the 2 groups; however, during the late course of disease, genomic RNA titers were higher in the Delta group. Negative conversion of subgenomic RNA was slower in the Delta group (median 9 vs 5 days; P < .001). The duration of viral shedding in terms of positive viral culture was also longer in the Delta group (median 5 vs 3 days; P = .002). Conclusions: COVID-19 patients infected with the Delta variant exhibited prolonged viable viral shedding with more severe symptoms than those infected with non-Delta variants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E27-E34
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Jul 1

Keywords

  • Delta variant
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • culture
  • subgenomic RNA
  • viral shedding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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