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Question of the day: What is known about the possible presence of the Omicron variant in Peru?

Just a week ago, the World Health Organization, WHO, qualified the new variant Omicron (B.1.1.529) as “worrying”For having several mutations that could make it easier to spread or cause more serious symptoms. It is a variant of SARS-CoV-2 initially detected in South Africa – it does not necessarily mean that it appeared in that country – which adds to the list of variants of concern such as Gamma or Delta.

SIGHT: Question of the day: What is known about the possible presence of the Omicron variant in Peru?

Yesterday, Japan reported that the second case of this variant detected in that country was a person from Peru.

The Ministry of Health (Minsa) confirmed that it is a 25-year-old Peruvian citizen who entered our country on October 27 from Brazil, was here until November 24 and left again for Brazil and from there travel to Japan with stopover in Qatar.

According to Minister Hernando Cevallos, the traveler got married in Piura and held a party with 14 people. Neither the couple nor the assistants wore a mask or respected the distancing. In addition, he reported that the wife has symptoms of COVID-19, so she has been isolated and tests are being carried out. Meanwhile, the Peruvian citizen in Japan is stable.

VARIANT FIRST SAMPLES RATING ACCORDING TO WHO
Alpha United Kingdom, September 2020 Worrying
Beta South Africa, May 2020 Worrying
Gamma Brazil, November 2020 Worrying
Delta India, October 2020 Worrying
Lambda Peru, December 2020 Of interest
Mu Colombia, January 2021 Of interest
Omicron Various countries November 2021 Worrying

The truth is that as it is a new variant its behavior is not yet known exactly. It has already been detected in 25 countries and in Peru there is still no confirmation of its presence, but specialists consulted by El Comercio and the head of the Minsa himself indicate that it is likely that it is already circulating in the country.

To detect this or another variant, the genomic sequencing, analysis that allows to know the genetic composition of the virus. A PCR, antigen or other test only allows you to know if you are infected or not. According to the Minsa, 10,849 genomes have been sequenced as of November 26. It is a lower figure considering that more than 2.3 million positives have been detected since March of last year in Peru.

To understand the low level of genomic surveillance, the infectologist Julio Cachay said that while in other countries, 25% of detected cases are being sequenced. In Peru, it is barely carried out at 5% due to logistical difficulties.

Since there is still no certainty as to whether the Omicron variant is more contagious, causes greater severity, or how the vaccine works with it, it is essential to maintain general prevention measures: masks, distancing, ventilation, hand washing and above all vaccination. Vaccination prevents the virus, with any variant, from being easily transmitted.

As of December 10, it will be mandatory to present a physical or virtual card to enter closed places and make trips. The face-to-face work in jobs can only be done with those who have the complete vaccination and the drivers, collectors and delivery service also have to have the double dose.

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