The Ministry of Health’s epidemiological bulletin confirmed the identification of “two separate cases” of the EG.5 variant, which the World Health Organization recently considered “of concern” because it is present in countries such as the United States where there has been an increase. In cases of covid.
The cases were detected through genetic surveillance conducted by the Federal Network for Genomics and Bioinformatics. One was recorded in the province of Córdoba through monitoring of respiratory viruses in mobile monitoring units; The other is in the city of Buenos Aires, according to an official statement.
EG.5 on August 9 was considered by the World Health Organization to be an “interesting variant” because its prevalence increased. Most cases have been reported in China, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Portugal.
The epidemiological bulletin in Argentina noted that “the prevalence of EG.5 continues to increase, from 7.5% at week 25 to 17.4% at week 29”.
However, according to virologist and researcher Humberto Debat, this new variant circulating in the country “does not have biological characteristics that generate any greater risk than any of the other subspecies currently in existence.”
For Debat, a member of the Argentine Joint SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Project, “the increase in the frequency of all variants occurring simultaneously with increasing cases in some regions of the world has more to do with population immunity factors.””.
“Just to give an example, the last peak of cases in the US was six months ago and the previous peak was 12 months ago; so it might have been expected that the frequency of cases would start to increase in the context of declining population immunity and lack of vaccination,” the researcher added.
“At the same time that the World Health Organization was beginning to consider EG.5 an interesting variant, a team of researchers from Japan—the ones who always do the biological profiling of variants—determined that this variant is no more elusive in terms of immunogenicity than strings,” warned Debat. The other sub for the Omicron variant.
“Furthermore – description – experiments in the laboratory have shown that it is not more contagious, that is, it does not have biological characteristics that generate any greater risk than any of the other subspecies present at this time.”
In Argentina, the current situation of SARS-CoV-2 variants is characterized by the exclusive circulation of the micron variant. With regard to the Micron lineages, from the week of November 28, 2022, a predominance of BQ.1* and XBB* variants began to be observed, with some BA.2, BA.4 and BA.5 detections.
Currently, WHO is monitoring two other variants of interest: XBB.1.5 and XBB.1.16 and six variants under follow-up (VUM) and their affiliated lineages 13 BA.2.75, CH.1.1, XBB, XBB.1.9.1 and XBB.1.9. 2 and XBB.2.3.
Worldwide, XBB.1.16 remains the most popular variant of interest, with its presence reported in a total of 101 countries since its introduction. XBB.1.16 accounted for 25.2% of sequences in epidemic week 29 compared to 22.2% in epidemic week 25.