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Moderate, severe forms predominant for delta strain of COVID-19 — expert

In his words, the latent period has become shorter, because the virus has become more contagious

MOSCOW, August 1. /TASS/. Patients infected with the delta strain of the novel coronavirus are likely to develop moderate or severe symptoms of COVID-19, while mild or symptomless cases of the disease are becoming rarer, a senior Russian scientist told TASS on Sunday.

"In case of the delta variant of the infection, the latent period is shorter. And, regretfully, we can see that the disease is more severe in a growing number of cases - patients develop moderate and severe forms of the disease more often, while mild and asymptomatic ones are getting rarer," said Alexander Gorelov, deputy director of the Russian sanitary watchdog’s Central Research Institute of Epidemiology and a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

"Of course, the treatment of such patients requires more time and effort, and this affects the overall statistics, leading to a conclusion that the disease lasts longer," he said.

In his words, the latent period has become shorter, because the virus has become more contagious.

"The basic reproduction number (showing contagiousness, or how many persons on average can become infected by one carrier before the diagnosis is made) has multiplied by 2-2.5 times. It used to be 1-2, but now it is reaching 5-6," the expert added.

"Therefore, I will say it again and again: only mass vaccination can break this chain of transmissions and help us prevent the emergence of new variants of the infection that can be even more dangerous," Gorelov said.

The Delta variant of the coronavirus was first detected in India last October. Earlier, the All India Institute of Medical Sciences reported that this version of the virus is capable of infecting people even after inoculation with the Covaxin and Covishield vaccines used in India. The Delta Plus version of this strain is considered to be even more contagious.