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Health brings coronavirus variants of interest to seven after focusing on four more

Publication: Tuesday February 23, 2021 12:22 AM

The health ministry is bringing the coronavirus ‘variants of interest’ to seven, after focusing on four other variants ‘that are of increasing interest’.

This is indicated by the latest update of its “Report on the epidemiological situation of variant B.1.1.7 of SARS-CoV-2 and other variants of interest”, corresponding to this Monday, in which he nevertheless declares that “the importance” are still three: the British, the South Africans and the Brazilians.

Among the new variants added in this report is P.2, from Rio de Janeiro, of which 11 cases have been detected in Spain: nine in the Canary Islands and two in Madrid. Two of them, says the report, correspond to “travelers”, while “the nine others belong to the same community and epidemiological data are still not available”.

A case of variant B.1.525 has also been detected in our country. According to the document, it was sequenced in January of this year.

The other two variants which are incorporated in this report with those considered to be of health interest are COV 202102/02, with “greater possible evasion to the immune response”, and B.1.429, observed in California. Of these two cases, the cases have not yet been confirmed in Spain.

As for the three variants that Health considers the most important at the moment, the UK’s (B.1.1.7), 898 cases have been confirmed to date, although the report cites 183 other possible cases “detected by informal sources (press or similar) “which are not included in this figure.

The document lists as the potential public health impacts of this variant, an “increase in transmissibility” and “a possible increase in lethality”, as well as a “slight reduction in the efficacy of the vaccine”, although it stresses that its effect on immunity is “rare”.

Regarding B.1.351, the South African variant, in Spain 15 cases have been detected so far, nine of them belonging to the same outbreak and four others “probably related to each other”. Regarding this variant, the document cautions against a “probable increase in transmissibility” and a “moderate to high reduction in vaccine efficacy”.

Regarding the Brazilian variant P.1, according to Health, only one case has so far been detected “in a traveler from Brazil”. The report warns of a “possible escape of the immune response acquired after a natural infection or generated by certain vaccines” linked to this variant.

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