Colombian strain of Covid-19 detected in Latvia

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Last week, the Colombia variant of the Covid-19 virus, known as strain B.1.621, was discovered in Latvia, Jurijs Perevoščikovs, epidemiologist at the Disease Prevention and Control Center (SPKC) said at the government meeting June 8, according to LETA newswire.

According to Perevoščikovs, this strain contains two dangerous mutations – N501Y and E484K.

The Chairman of the Scientific Council of the Latvian Biomedical Research and Study Center, Jānis Kloviņš, told LETA that coronavirus has spread widely and has the potential to spread locally, but the number of types recognized by scientists is very high due to intensive sequencing studies.

“Many of the types are very similar, but the dangerous mutations are clear and mutation combinations can be discussed. The Indian type also has a very uncharacteristic combination of mutations. For the Colombian type, the mutations are similar to that of the British or alpha variant, which is joined by the second most dangerous mutation. The Colombian type is more similar to a British type with a lesser known mutant, which has a worse response to antibody neutralization,” explained Kloviņš. In his view, the Colombian type is similar to that of the British strain.

He said only time would show whether the Indian type will take over the British strain in Latvia.

Last week more than 90% of cases of positive samples tested using the polymerase chain reaction revealed the British strain. Three cases of the Indian type of Covid-19 virus were identified in Latvia and one variant of Egypt containing the L452R mutation, which has been given increased attention.

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