The Disease Severity and Clinical Outcomes of the SARS-CoV-2 Variants of Concern

Lixin Lin, Ying Liu, Xiujuan Tang, Daihai He

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


With the continuation of the pandemic, many severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) variants have appeared around the world. Owing to a possible risk of increasing the transmissibility of the virus, severity of the infected individuals, and the ability to escape the antibody produced by the vaccines, the four SARS-CoV-2 variants of Alpha (B.1.1.7), Beta (B.1.351), Gamma (P.1), and Delta (B.1.617.2) have attracted the most widespread attention. At present, there is a unified conclusion that these four variants have increased the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2, but the severity of the disease caused by them has not yet been determined. Studies from June 1, 2020 to October 15, 2021 were considered, and a meta-analysis was carried out to process the data. Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Delta variants are all more serious than the wild-type virus in terms of hospitalization, ICU admission, and mortality, and the Beta and Delta variants have a higher risk than the Alpha and Gamma variants. Notably, the random effects of Beta variant to the wild-type virus with respect to hospitalization rate, severe illness rate, and mortality rate are 2.16 (95% CI: 1.19–3.14), 2.23 (95% CI: 1.31–3.15), and 1.50 (95% CI: 1.26–1.74), respectively, and the random effects of Delta variant to the wild-type virus are 2.08 (95% CI: 1.77–2.39), 3.35 (95% CI: 2.5–4.2), and 2.33 (95% CI: 1.45–3.21), respectively. Although, the emergence of vaccines may reduce the threat posed by SARS-CoV-2 variants, these are still very important, especially the Beta and Delta variants.

Original languageEnglish
Article number775224
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalFrontiers in Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2021


  • COVID-19
  • disease severity
  • epidemic potential
  • mortality
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • variants of concerns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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