A year after the initial wild-type Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) strains began their devastation of the world, they were supplanted by new variants of concern (VOC). In Ontario, Canada, the wild type was overtaken first by the Alpha/B1.1.17 variant, and then by the Delta/B.1.617 variant. The principal objective of the present study is to develop and apply a much expanded Susceptible-Infection-Recovered-type model to better understand the spread of multiple VOC, and assess the effectiveness of vaccination and non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPI). The model represents competition among VOC, and reveals their mutual inhibitory effects. By separately tracking asymptomatic and symptomatic infections, model simulations identify a significant role of vaccine breakthrough in the spread of Delta. Furthermore, the severity of a Delta outbreak depends not only on the NPI and vaccination rate but also on the vaccine types. Alarmingly, despite Ontario’s existing NPI and relatively successful vaccine rollout, a future, more dangerous VOC could potentially infect a significant fraction of the province’s population and overwhelm the health care system. To stop that VOC, the province may need the simultaneous and rapid deployment of a third booster vaccine and stringent NPI.

Fuente: Scientific Reports