Experts from the National Institute of Health (INS) reported that Peru is a case of international observation because it records the active coexistence of four variants of COVID-19 at the same time. After achieving the milestone of sequencing 10,000 genomes of this virus, it is Gamma, Lambda, Mu and Delta, the latter being the predominant one in the country.
“We are a special case among many countries because we have four variants circulating: Gamma, Mu, Lambda and Delta. That is not seen anywhere in the world “, said the biologist Carlos Padilla, head of the SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Sequencing team of the INS, to the Andean Agency.
The expert commented that this fact has been reported to the scientific community and was described in different scientific articles, several of them already published. He described as a “special case” what happens in our territory by maintaining that there have not been detected concurrence of so many variants in other countries.
“In other countries, the predominant variant ends up cornering the others. We saw it first with the lambda variant and now with the delta, which in recent months has increased its frequency and represents more than 90% of positive cases nationwide. However, the others subsist ”, said.
Padilla mentioned that this result is one of the main findings resulting from the genomic surveillance carried out by the various laboratories that exist in the regions and that report their samples to the INS.
He added that the sequencing of the 10,000 SARS-CoV-2 genomes It is an achievement achieved in conjunction with the contribution of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC Minsa), the Lambayeque Regional Hospital, the Puno Regional Reference Laboratory and the Center for Biomedical and Environmental Technological Research (CITBM).
“At the South American level, we are in third place in genetic sequencing of covid-19, behind Brazil and Argentina, countries that report more genomes to international databases”, said the biologist. He stated that the analysis of 10,000 genomes is a milestone for the country, which serves as a test to work on other pathogens.
Variants vs. vaccination
The expert commented that, although in the rest of the world, the Delta variant is the predominant one, its leadership in Peru was not achieved so quickly.
“The advance of the Delta variant has not occurred abruptly as in other places because it has coincided with the vaccination process in the country. There has been a coexistence of variants, but we are already seeing that most of the reported cases are due to Delta infection. Of its 100 sublineages registered in the world, 48 are already in Peru “, he stressed.
Padilla said that the explanation would be that the variants have entered the country at different times, which has allowed their coexistence. A similar situation happened with the Lambda variant, which was the most reported in regions until the Delta variant arrived, which time is the predominant one.
“We reported this to the international community and there have been requests for us to share the isolation of lambda, since in other countries there is not so much prevalence, but in Peru there is still. For this reason biological material worked here has been shared”he explained.