The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) regretted this Wednesday that several countries in the region reduced genomic surveillance of SAR-CoV-2, through PCR tests, in parallel with the resumption of international flights and an increase in cases. due to the sublineages of the omicron variant: BA.4 and BA.5.
“The emergence of BA.4 and BA.5 is another reminder that this virus continues to evolve, it is being transmitted every time and we must remain vigilant, we must strengthen genomic surveillance that has unfortunately decreased in recent weeks due to less sampling. in most countries and territories,” said PAHO Director Carissa F. Etienne.
The decrease in PCR tests has been influenced by the decision of countries to no longer require them as an immigration requirement. In Nicaragua, since most travel destinations, mainly the United States, eliminated negative tests for SAR-CoV-2 to enter, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) reports fewer cases.
The reduction in positive infections of covid-19 in Nicaragua occurred after five consecutive weeks in which they admitted an increase in cases and independent doctors reported a higher prevalence of infections. However, since June 21, 2022, a reduction of between 10% and 15% per week has been reported.
Until July 12, 2022, the Minsa reports a cumulative of 19,553 positive cases of covid-19 and 245 deaths, one weekly since October 13, 2020. They also ensure that more than 82% of the Nicaraguan population has already completed your vaccination schedule.
They warn that the BA.5 sublineage will be the predominant
According to the monitoring carried out by PAHO, through international health regulations, in the last week there were 1.6 million infections and 4,789 deaths from covid-19 in the Americas. In Central America there was up to a 59.9% increase in infections. Likewise, the report indicates that there was an increase in hospitalizations in 14 countries on the continent.
“Omicron BA.5 has been detected in at least 22 countries and territories and it will surely become the prevailing strain in all suppressions in the coming weeks”, warned Dr. Etienne.
Although at this time, the BA.5 sublineage is the one of greatest concern due to its spread, Dr. Jairo Méndez Rico, adviser on emerging viral diseases at PAHO, pointed out that there is no evidence that it can cause a greater impact than has been reported. seen with omicron.
Even in vitro experiments “show that (the sublineages) are not more aggressive compared to variants of concern that have previously circulated, including Delta, for example, although they have an important capacity to reduce the immune response, we continue to highlight the efficacy of a complete vaccination schedule,” Méndez explained.
According to PAHO representatives, it is estimated that vaccines against covid-19 have saved the lives of four million people at the regional level. Despite the emergence of variants and sublineages—more than 80 have already been identified—biologics remain effective against severe illness and death.