Microbiologists Warn Covid-19 Will Continue to Mutate

Merdeka.com – Nia Krisniawati, an expert in Clinical Microbiology from Jenderal Soedirman University (Unsoed) Purwokerto, reminded that virus mutations take place continuously. According to him, mutation is a natural cycle of a virus.

Nia said, until now Covid-19 is still a pandemic along with viral mutations that cause the emergence of new variants of Covid-19 that spread more quickly.

“Virus mutations take place continuously and are a natural cycle of the virus. Because the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet. Even though global cases are starting to decline and Covid-19 is predicted to continue to exist.”

“For this reason, correct and factual information related to Covid-19, including the Omicron variant, is important in controlling the pandemic and preventing virus transmission,” said the member of the Covid-19 Laboratory Team and the Unsoed Integrated Research Laboratory, quoted from Antara, Thursday (3/3). ).

Regarding the spread of the Corona virus, especially with the emergence of the Omicron variant, he said, more emphasis should be placed on maintaining cleanliness and efforts to prevent the transmission of Covid-19 should be increased to the smallest level of society through the implementation of micro community activity restrictions (PPKM) in villages/kelurahan.

In addition, he said, local governments also need to re-enforce health protocols in accordance with PPKM levels in their respective regions in order to suppress the rate of positive cases of Covid-19.

Furthermore, Nia explained, the five impacts of the Omicron variant consisting of the impact on disease incidence, impact on transmission or transmission, impact on disease severity, impact on repeated infections, and impact on vaccination.

“In terms of the impact on disease incidence, based on Omicron data it continues to spread globally and has been identified in most countries in the six WHO (World Health Organization) regions,” he said.

Globally for one week or February 14-20 2022, he said, the number of new cases of Covid-19 decreased by 21 percent compared to the previous week and the number of deaths also showed a declining trend which was recorded at 8 percent.

“It is important to note that this trend may be due to the overall decline in Covid-19 diagnostic tests which is influenced by policy changes in each country,” said he who is also a member of the Indonesian Association of Clinical Microbiology Specialists (PAMKI).

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Regarding the impact on transmission, he said, according to an analysis based on the method used by Campbell et al and which focused on countries with genome sequencing data uploaded to GISAID (Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data) on February 18, 2022. , found superior replication or growth rates of Omicron over the Delta variant in all countries.

According to him, the reinfection rate (recurrent infection) was reported to be higher in Omicron compared to Delta, namely 13.6 percent versus 10.1 percent in the United Kingdom and 31 percent versus 21 percent in Denmark.

“Researchers in China, Hong Kong SAR found that Omicron had a higher tropism in the bronchial tissue compared to the lungs. In the United Kingdom, Omicron was found to infect the upper respiratory tract more rapidly than Delta and produced a titer of about 100 times higher ,” he said.

Tropism is the infectious nature of some pathogens that only attack specific hosts and certain host tissues.

He said two studies conducted in South Africa reported that Omicron was able to evade vaccine-derived immunity as well as immunity from previous infections.

According to him, this could also be a contributing factor to Omicron’s higher growth rate compared to Delta.

“While impact on disease severity, based on analyzes of recent medical consultations and hospitalizations, Omicron was consistently found to be associated with milder disease severity compared to Delta across studies conducted in the UK, USA, Canada and Africa. South,” he said.

Regarding the impact on repeated infections, Nia said preliminary Omicron data on individuals previously infected with SARS-CoV-2 since the start of the pandemic showed an increasing number of recurrent infections in Denmark and Israel.

“The risk of recurrent infection is higher in Omicron compared to other SARS-CoV-2 variants with an even higher risk, from data reported across the UK,” he said.

As for the impact on vaccination, he said the results of the vaccine effectiveness (VE) study were difficult to interpret, and estimates varied depending on the type of vaccine given, the number of doses, and the scheduling of sequential administration of different vaccines.

According to him, studies conducted in the UK and the United States reported the effectiveness of the vaccine to reach 60 percent to 75 percent against symptomatic infections (symptomatic, ed.) with Omicron.


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