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Jakarta Post

Intense surveillance needed to detect new virus variant: Minister

  • News Desk


Jakarta   /   Thu, December 31 2020   /  01:00 am
The genome is like the human instruction manual, where words are genes and letters our DNA.(AFP/Robyn Beck)

Unlike neighboring Singapore, Indonesia has not detected the new SARS-CoV-2 variant first discovered in the United Kingdom, but that may be due to the country’s lack of genomic and molecular monitoring, a minister has said. To detect the new variant, labs must carry out whole genome sequencing, but not all labs in the country could do so, Research and Technology Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said. Even those that already did so might still need to "routinely intensify whole genome sequencing SARS-CoV-2" among cases in the country, he said. Studies are still underway on the new variant, referred to as the B.1.1.7 lineage, but it is believed to be 40 to 70 percent more transmissible, Reuters reported. There has yet to be evidence concerning the new variant's impact on disease severity and morbidity. It remained a concern nonetheless given the need to protect ri...