Sequencing of new variants of SARS-CoV-2 in the Biobío Region
Updated: Dec 23, 2021
Currently, our country is experiencing a period of sustained stability during the last weeks in relation to the figures of contagion by SARS-CoV-2. According to the latest COVID-19 Daily Report issued by the Ministry of Health, there were 591 new cases today, with 4,625 active cases nationwide. Likewise, the positivity in the Metropolitan Region is 2%, while 14 regions have a positivity less than or equal to 1%. At the same time, in the Biobío Region, active cases are under 500: today 65 new cases were registered, adding up to 437 total active cases.
However, we are also witnessing the appearance of new variants of SARS-CoV-2, which entails a greater risk of virulence and transmissibility, for example, the Delta variant (of which 138 cases have already been confirmed) or the Lambda variant. (of which 3 cases have already been confirmed). This situation shows how essential it is to enhance the genomic surveillance strategy carried out in our country.
Today, the sequencing capacity of the Institute of Public Health is close to 300 genomes per week, translating into 0.83% of positive samples nationwide. For genomic monitoring to be implemented as a strategy for monitoring and identifying circulating variants, it requires a sequencing capacity, according to the WHO, of 5% of positive cases of COVID-19.
Given the urgent and imperative need to increase the number of samples sequenced, Instituto MELISA implemented the necessary workflow to sequence up to 384 samples per day. Through its Illumina NextSeq 500 platform, unique in the south-central macrozone of the country, we can contribute to the strengthening of the genomic surveillance strategy in a decentralized manner and provide health authorities and the population with the necessary information to face the new epidemiological scenario.
Dr. Cristián Vargas
CEO & Core Facility Manager and Business Development