New lineage of Omicron variant circulating in Peru
Peru’s Health Ministry officials reported this week the finding of a new lineage of the SARS.CoV-2 Omicron variant called BA.1.22.
The new BA.1.22 lineage is a product of the natural evolution of the virus in the Peruvian population and has been identified mainly in the Tacna region, but cases have already been detected in Loreto, Arequipa, Moquegua, Puno, and Lima, the ministry said in a statement.
The genomic surveillance team of the National Institute of Health (INS) detected this new lineage which does not present new or different mutations to those previously (or previously registered) in Omicron.
With this finding, there are now ten lineages that have been identified and proposed by the genomic surveillance laboratory of Peru’s National Institute of Health (INS)for registration and have been accepted by the international PANGO committee in the United Kingdom.
Genomic surveillance is used to make public health decisions and strengthen the control of the epidemic in the face of the emergence of new SARS-CoV-2 virus mutants in the national territory, said INS head Carlos Padilla.
The INS also highlighted that, since the entry of the Omicron variant into Peru in December, genomic sequencing has made it possible to observe the new changes or mutations that this variant has undergone due to the multiple infections recorded.
The Ministry of Health stated in its latest information that 240 cases of COVID-19 were registered and 5 people died of this disease. Peru has 16.2 million people immunized with the three doses, which represents 56.9% of its population.
Also regarding vaccines, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has limited the use of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine because of the risk of rare blood clots. The FDA said in a statement that the emergency authorization for the J&J drug will now be restricted to those 18 and older for whom other vaccines are not available or medically appropriate, or who do not want to receive another vaccine.
The change is due to the risk of developing a rare and dangerous type of clot, called thrombosis with thrombocytopenia syndrome (TTS), following administration of the vaccine, it was reported.
We have been closely monitoring the vaccine and the occurrence of TTS following inoculation and using updated information from our safety services to review the emergency authorization, said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Biologics Evaluation and Research center.
According to official data, about 18 million doses of the J&J vaccine have been administered in the U.S., which is about 7.7% of the citizens who are considered fully vaccinated in the country. The FDA has noted, however, the rarity of this dangerous condition, with 3.23 cases per million doses of vaccine administered and nine confirmed deaths.