CARPHA finds variants in the UK, US and another similar to the Brazilian variant in the region

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) says it has found COVID-19 variants from the United Kingdom and United States as well as another variant similar to the Brazilian variant of samples sent by CARICOM Member States to ‘ w tested.

However, it did not specify which country or countries in the region these variations were detected.

“To date, CARPHA has detected cases of UK variation in several Member States. Although no cases of Brazilian or South African variation have been found in the Region, variations of US concern and variation similar to the Brazilian variant have been found, ”a statement from the regional body today detailed.

He noted that the CARPHA Medical Microbiology Laboratory (CMML) continues to receive and test samples for suspected Member States (MS) COVID-19 cases. The CMML also maintains its reporting protocol to designated national referral laboratories.

Since December 2020, CARPHA reported that it has been working with the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine on genome sequencing for MS. Countries were asked to send an allocation of ten samples per month that meets the requirements for sequencing.

Nevertheless, CARPHA urges Member States to remain vigilant and continue to enhance their surveillance capacity to screen, identify, test, quarantine, isolate and track new case contacts supported by public health prevention and control measures.

At this critical stage of the pandemic and beyond, CARPHA said it will provide the highest quality technical support, advice and service to help inform decision makers in its Member States .

Just Wednesday, Guyana’s Health Minister Dr Frank Anthony says Guyana is putting arrangements in place to send samples to CARPHA for testing.

There has been an increase in COVID-19 cases in Guyana with more young people catching the virus and more infected people getting sick and needing to go to hospital.

However, Dr Anthony says they cannot say for sure whether this is due to the COVID-19 variant here. He noted that the only way to know this is through genetic sequencing of samples.