San José, Feb 24.- The Costa Rican Institute for Research and Teaching in Nutrition and Health (Inciensa) identified here for the first time the variants of SARS-CoV-2, which causes Covid-19, described in the United Kingdom and South Africa.
The coordinator of the Incense Genomics Laboratory, Francisco Duarte, specified that the variant VOC202012 / 01 (lineage B.1.1.7) from the United Kingdom was detected in a 35-year-old Costa Rican patient, who began symptoms on the previous January 27 and she is already recovered, without requiring hospitalization.
He pointed out that they are investigating the origin of said contagion, which preliminarily has not resulted in other cases.
Duarte said that the variant 501Y.V2 (lineage B.1.351) from South Africa was detected in a 65-year-old foreign patient, who began with symptoms on January 31, and was hospitalized in a medical center in the Costa Rican Fund. Social Security (CCSS, in charge of public health in this country).
The patient, he specified, is part of the group of 20 French tourists who tested positive for Covid-19. Those vacationers entered Costa Rica on January 16 and of them four remain hospitalized in CCSS medical centers, while 16 have already recovered and returned to their country.
The coordinator of the Incense Genomics Laboratory indicated that in the national territory there were two positive people for Covid-19 as a result of contact with this group of tourists and one of them remains hospitalized.
He reported that these variants present changes in the S protein of the virus, specifically in the cell receptor binding domain (RBD).
The RBD is a relevant region for the interaction of the virus with its host, he explained, adding that these changes must be closely monitored because they affect regions of biological importance for the virus and the infection processes, as well as the immune response.
Given the importance of these findings, Inciensa will continue with the genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 in the country, in order to identify new genetic or structural variants of epidemiological importance for the diagnosis, prevention and control of the disease, concluded Duarte. (PL)