PAHO maintains that new variant of the coronavirus circulates in Latin America

The new variant of coronavirus recently detected in the UK provoked a series of prevention actions throughout Europe, but also in Latin America. Although no case related to this has been confirmed so far in the region, several countries have opted for cancel flights from the British Isles.

However, the Pan American Health Organization (OPS) reported this Tuesday, December 22, that the new virus lineage already circulates in this part of the world, although mentioning in which nations was avoided, because it is an announcement that the corresponding Ministry of Health must offer.

“There is already information that there is in other regions, even in Latin American countries,” explained the doctor. Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of the OPS, before the question of this newspaper about the displacement of this new variant in the area.

During a broadcast on social networks, in which the agency made a balance of the pandemic in Latin America, Barbosa He indicated that everything depends on the technical capacities of each country, because it is only possible to detect it with “epidemiological surveillance”.

“Sure may vary by the ability of each country to monitor the virus. In other words, many times not having this new variety may be because the country has less capacity to carry out epidemiological surveillance based on genetic sequencing than others ”, he pointed out.

The crisis of the new variant

In Europe it has been discovered in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands, among other nations of the Old Continent and the world. The European division of the World Health Organization (WHO) already informed that it will meet to implement a strategy.

In Latin America, OPS does not, for the time being, plan to convene the Member States to discuss the new variant of SARS-CoV-2. The Brazilian doctor called to maintain the known measures to avoid contagion of the COVID-19.

Global balance of the coronavirus pandemic as of December 22 at 11.00 GMT. Infographic: AFP

“The way to prevent is the same, so no need to change anythinga, has to be reinforced. Those who are concerned should call their friends and family and tell them that all precautions must be observed, not only for this new variety, but also for the old one that is there and kills thousands of people every day, ”he said Barbosa.

According to Worldometers, a reference website for real-time statistics, there are currently 78 127 719 people infected, 1 718 112 fatalities and up to 54 893 169 who have recovered from the COVID-19.

“We must carefully monitor and maintain the same measures, which are sufficient to prevent any transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 and any of the mutations known to date”, He stressed.

Barbosa, who has almost 40 years in the field of public health, joined countless specialists who have asserted that these types of events are common in the operation of viruses.

Lazy loaded component

“It is SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that produces COVID-19, has hundreds of mutations that were identified, because it is certain that right now it is the most watched virus in the world. We already have more than 70,000 genetic sequencing of this, never another virus was so monitored in less than a year “, he highlighted.

There is indeed thousands of SARS-CoV-2 lineages which on average only have a small number of defining mutations that differentiate it from the original strain. In fact, already in October they had recognized at least 1,000 introductions of the coronavirus in the UK.

“So hundreds of mutations have been identified that do not change the behavior of the virus, the problem with mutations is to identify those that can change the behavior of the virus for better or worse,” he remarked.

Effects on vaccines

Both the British authorities and the WHO have argued that this new lineage does not affect the effectiveness of the vaccines. In the same vein, the deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization expressed himself.

Similarly, he stated that they have not confirmed that the virus has become more aggressive or that promotes greater attendance at the intensive care unit.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief epidemiologist of the United States, was immunized on Tuesday against COVID-19 with the vaccine developed by the Moderna laboratory in Maryland. Photo: EFE

“There is no evidence that it can generate more serious cases, which would be very worrying, the symptoms do not change, it is the same disease “, he specified Barbosa. “The initial information is that the effectiveness of the vaccine”, He added.

Likewise, some of the main pharmaceutical companies have already spoken about it. Pfizer and Moderna will test their vacciness against the new modality of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and they have already declared that they are confident that its effectiveness will be maintained.

On the eve, Russia assured that Sputnik V is “highly effective both against the new mutation of the virus discovered in Europe, and against existing strains ”.

“What we have to do is keep monitoring to see if there is a need for any changes in a future vaccine. So far there are none, with the information we have ”, the Brazilian doctor declared.

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