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New variant of Covid B117, Eijkman: PCR test is still effective

Reflection of the independent isolation place for survivors of the new B117 variant in Brebes, Central Java. (Antara / Oky Lukmansyah)

KBR, Jakarta- Head of the Institute for Biology and Molecular Affairs (LBM) Eijkman Professor Amin Soebandrio emphasized that there is no evidence that the 6 cases of the new variant B117 in Indonesia are interrelated. He explained that the source of the virus was still being traced.

He also said that expert opinions were still mixed regarding the suspicion of increasing the weight of cases or causing fatal cases in the new British variant of Covid-19. However, Amin said, the characteristic of transmission was faster by 40-70 percent, which could lead to an increase in the virus production rate.

“Because of this change, he may also cause the antibodies formed after vaccination to no longer recognize the virus because his clothes have changed. There is a change in structure so that the antibodies do not recognize it. So there is more concern that this virus will not be neutralized by antibodies after vaccination,” said Amin. in a press release from BNPB, Friday (12/3/2021).

Head of the Institute for Biology and Molecular Affairs (LBM) Eijkman Professor Amin Soebandrio added, there is a concern that PCR is also affected by its sensitivity to new variants. As a result, someone with a new variant could be detected negative for Covid-19.

However, according to him, the decrease in sensitivity was not significant so that a replacement PCR test was not needed.

Even so, Amin said that the major vaccine manufacturers currently circulating had confirmed that the virus mutation was not significant. Therefore, vaccines currently circulating are still considered effective for the Covid-19 virus and its new variants.

Amin said that world researchers recommended that the implementation of the Covid-19 vaccination be accelerated so that group immunity can be achieved immediately. Even though there is a new virus mutation, it is hoped that the vaccine that has been injected into a person can weaken the virus. Even if infected with a virus, it is hoped that only mild symptoms will appear.

Amin said, as vaccinations were ongoing, the Covid-19 virus also continued to mutate. Amin revealed, of the many mutations of the Covid-19 virus, only 4 percent caused the virus to become even more dangerous. Other cases of viral mutations can actually make the virus weaker.

Therefore, he appealed to the public to continue implementing the Covid-19 health protocol.

Previously, the Ministry of Health found that the Covid-19 variant B117 virus cases increased by four cases. Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said the addition of cases brought the total UK mutation variant cases in Indonesia to six cases.

The four additional cases were found first in Palembang, South Sumatra on January 11, 2021. Then in South Kalimantan on January 6, 2021, in Medan on January 28, 2021, most recently in Balikpapan, East Kalimantan on February 12, 2021.

“For the follow-up, now we are doing surveillance against their close contact. And we are currently pursuing it so that it can be tested and tested immediately genome sequence. To update my friends, journalists. For the first two cases that came from Saudi Arabia, the Karawang case (West Java), all of his close contacts have tested and they are negative. So Alhamdulillah, the quarantine at Soekarno Hatta airport is quite good, “said Minister of Health Budi during a virtual press conference, Monday (8/3/2021).

Editor: Rony Sitanggang

The KBR editorial team also invited us to fight the Covid-19 virus together. Always apply health protocols in every activity with 3M, namely; Putting on a mask, keeping your distance and washing your hands with soap.


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