Health confirms new variant of omicron in Guatemala and fears rebound in cases due to Holy Week – Prensa Libre

In the midst of worry that the massive mobilizations for the Easter holidays cause a rebound in coronavirus cases, The National Health Laboratory (LNS) confirmed this Wednesday, April 6 the presence of a new variant of omicron.

In its sequencing report this Wednesday, the LNS confirmed the presence of the variant line BA.2 omicron, which has caused significant increases in the number of cases in other countries, where it has even become dominant, as is the case in the United States.

Because of the above, and because Health feared his arrival for several weeks, The authorities are calling on the population to increase preventive measures such as avoiding crowds and the proper use of masks.

Confirmation of the BA.2 lineage occurs when Guatemala reaches 832,956 cumulative cases of coronavirus and 17,350 deaths from the disease, figures which, according to Health, will increase considerably after Easter.

According to the LNS, “of the samples seized, 550 met the sample acceptance criteria for the sequencing process, of which 372 were screened with a presumptive VOC test, obtaining a presumptive percentage positivity of 97.31% for the Omicron variant”.

The report adds that “on this basis, 100 samples were selected to be sent to the Gorgas Memorial Institute for Health Studies (ICGES) in Panama for sequencing and 96 samples were analyzed at LNS. Out of 196 samples selected for the sequencing process, the actual genomic sequencing of 192 samples was obtained, of which 100% correspond to VOC Ómicron (Lines BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.1.1.15, BA.1.15, BA. 2 and BA.2.3). The appearance of the Ómicron BA.2 subline, which had not been detected until now, is observed”.

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It details that “the Ómicron BA.2 subline was first reported in other countries”, in November 2021, while in the United States “the first case of BA.2 was reported in January 2022, a month after the appearance of the Ómicron BA.1 variant was reported”.

He refers that “The symptoms reported in patients of said sublineage do not appear to be more severe than the BA.1 variant” which is the most common in Guatemala.

In the same report, it is noted that, according to the statement on the omicron variant BA.2 sublineage by the World Health Organization on February 22, 2022, “although early data indicates that BA.2 is inherently more transmissible than BA.1, which remains the most frequently reported subline of the Omicron variant, apparently this difference in transmissibility is much lower, for example, that between the BA.1 subline and the delta variant”.

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It was reported that in the 4 cases detected in this sequencing process, “all reported travel history to the United States (2), Mexico (1) and one case did not refer to the location of travel. Three cases were reported as asymptomatic and one mild case.

The report adds that “due to the introduction of this new Ómicron BA.2 sub-variant in Guatemala”, there could be an increase in the number of cases in Guatemala.

Among the sequenced cases, the majority reported a history of vaccination, according to the epidemiological file.

The Government of Guatemala awaits the mobilization of more than 2.6 million local and foreign tourists for Holy Week, according to a plan announced this Wednesday for prevention and security in which more than 90,000 civil servants will be involved.

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