Two new variants of SARS-CoV-2, considered high severity and easily transmitted, are circulating in the Dominican territory, which could allow the COVID-19 virus to spread faster and become resistant to treatments or vaccines.
The two new variants of high epidemiological interest are B.1.1.7 and P.1., which add to four variants of SARS-CoV-2 considered of high epidemiological interest that circulate in the national territory, stated by the Ministry of Public Health.
The health authorities explained that variant B.1.1.7 was detected for the first time in the United Kingdom. It presents a 50% increase in transmission, increases in severity based on hospitalizations and fatality rates. It does not have an impact on susceptibility to monoclonal antibody treatments and minimally impacts neutralization by convalescent and postvaccination sera.
While P.1 was initially identified in travelers from Brazil, who were tested during a routine check at an airport in Japan in early January. It presents a significant decrease in susceptibility to the combination of treatment with some monoclonal antibodies and has a minimal impact on neutralization by convalescent and postvaccination sera.
“These variants should be monitored and controlled with greater attention, since the initial genomic characterization of SARS-CoV-2, four variants of high epidemiological interest have been identified [B.1.1.7 (VOC202012 / 01); B.1.351 (501Y.V2); P.1; B.1.617] due to its high transmissibility, severity, ability to neutralize antibodies and the potential impacts on the effectiveness of vaccines against COVID-19”, reads the Public Health document.
To avoid the spread of these new variants, the Ministry of Health recommends that the population avoids close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections; wash hands frequently, especially after direct contact with sick people or their environment.
Also, the mandatory use of a mask to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, even in public and open spaces such as parks, squares, boardwalks; Go to a vaccination post for the application of the COVID-19 vaccine, since it has been shown that 80% of the people admitted for COVID-19, had not been vaccinated.
If you are not vaccinated and suffer from diabetes, hypertension, or grade 2 or 3 obesity, avoid visiting the province of Santo Domingo and the National District; maintain social distancing measures in public and poorly ventilated spaces.