Viruses naturally change over time through the mutation process, so the fact that international scientists have detected several variants of Covid is no different from most other virus outbreaks.
So far, three main strains of the coronavirus have been identified: B.1.1.7 (the variant that was first seen in the UK), B.1.351 (the strain first detected in South Africa), and P.1 ( variant that was found for the first time). in Brazil).
The UK variant is the most dominant in Spain.
The so-called British variant of the coronavirus has increased “rapidly” in recent weeks in Spain and has become “widespread” according to Spanish health authorities.
In 11 Spanish regions, variant B.1.1.7 is responsible for more than 70 percent of new cases (Balearic Islands (81.8 percent), Castilla-La Mancha (74.4 percent), Valencian Community (78.4 percent), Melilla (78.6 percent), Murcia (72.2 percent), Country Basque (76.2 percent) and La Rioja (74 percent).
In five other Spanish autonomous communities it represents more than 90 percent of new infections Asturias (98.7 percent), Galicia (95.3 percent), Cantabria (95 percent), Navarra (93.7 percent) and Catalonia (90 percent).
“Now it is our variant” chief epidemiologist Fernando Simón he told reporters during a state press conference on Monday, adding that it “could benefit us” as it “leaves no room” for the South African and Brazilian variants to take hold.
The Spanish Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES) highlights that the UK variant has “rapidly” replaced previous variants and is the dominant strain in most European countries, but also in other places such as Israel .
According to Monday, April 5, the Spanish Ministry of Health “update of the epidemiological situation of the variants of SARS-CoV-2 and its importance in public health in Spain”, it is “more transmissible, probably more lethal and it does not seem that the escaping immunity is important ”.
What about the South African and Brazilian strains?
According to the document, the other main variants that impact the country are the South African (B.1.351) and the Brazilian (P.1).
The South African variant has so far been detected on three sporadic occasions and there have been nine outbreaks infecting 72 people with the SA strain.
Two of the outbreaks and two sporadic cases are related to travel to Tanzania (11 cases), from Cameroon (two cases), from South Africa (one case) and from Equatorial Guinea (one case).
It has not been possible to identify the link between seven of the outbreaks that explain 59 infections, as well as another sporadic case, and none of the areas with a high prevalence of the SA strain.
Four of the outbreaks have been detected in the same municipality.
As for the Brazilian strain, 32 cases have been detected in Spain: three isolated infections and seven outbreaks, of which five cases were related to travel to Brazil, while another was linked to a traveler flying from Venezuela.
One of the outbreaks that caused five infections of the Brazilian strain was related to a trip to Argentina, while for a sporadic case and four outbreaks, with 19 cases in total, the origin could not be identified.
One of the cases included in one of these outbreaks is a possible case of reinfection, according to the study.
“The Brazilian and South African strains are the ones that interest and concern us the most,” Fernando Simón stressed.
The head of the Spanish Center for Health Alerts and Emergency Coordination added that it was not necessary to give “too much importance” to the rapid spread of the coronavirus variant in the United Kingdom and that, instead, it was preferable to “be very careful” with the two other variants. , which have so far had limited impact in Spain, but are reported to be more aggressive and harder to stop.
Are there other variants of Covid in Spain?
The document of the Ministry of Health also highlights that there are other variants of interest (VOI), although the impact they may have had on public health in Spain is unknown.
“The combination of mutations and their expansion at the local level in certain locations makes it advisable to monitor their epidemiological situation at present,” the report reads.
Among them is variant P.2 (originally from Rio de Janeiro), of which two sporadic cases have been detected in travelers arriving from Brazil.
An outbreak has been detected in a family with three positive cases, as well as another outbreak with nine cases in a hospital, with no known links to Brazil.
Variant B.1.258 (which has spread in the Czech Republic and Slovakia) is responsible for 18 more cases found so far in four of the regions of Spain.
Of the Nigerian variant, B.1.525, a case was detected in January 2021 for which there are no epidemiological data.
The Californian variant, B.1.429, accounts for 25 infections in Spain, of which three are sporadic and 22 are from three outbreaks in the same region. In none of them has any link with the trip been established.
The Portuguese variant, C.16, has only caused a confirmed infection in Spain and there are no epidemiological data on this case.
Finally, A.23.1 (originally from Uganda) has triggered three confirmed cases in a region of Spain.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism