Photo: Christophe Vadino
Genomic analyzes of infections with the British variant (B.1.1.7) show that travelers abroad during the Christmas holidays contracted the infection and spread the virus in our country after returning home. So the same scenario happened after last year’s Spring Break, but perhaps to a lesser degree. De Standard Books on Saturdays.
The Nextstrain platform, which researchers from all over the world download genome sequences from sars-CoV-2 and classify into family trees, already contains at least twenty different sequences found by Belgian laboratories that indicate the import of the British variant during the Christmas holidays or the following days . ‘Sequencing’ denotes the genome analyzed for sars-CoV-2. They all belong to the British variant, but show slight differences, which makes it possible to know if the infection is related.
On Twitter, Emma Hodcroft, a researcher at the University of Bern (Switzerland) and an employee at Nextstrain, points out the remarkable diversity of the newly added sequences from Belgium, which she believes points to several introductions. Pete Mays, who analyzes genome analyzes for sars-CoV-2 as a professor of virology at the Rega Institute (KU Leuven), agrees that the sequences hint at several introductions to the British variant over the Christmas holidays. “It feels like Spring Break 2020 again, with introductions from trips through seeding groups around the country. As if we learned nothing from our mistakes last year.”
Fortunately, not all of the British Variant sequences that Mace and colleagues have taken in other laboratories turn into sets. But we’re also seeing several infections in the British variant that have nothing to do with travel. This indicates local distribution. There are also introductions from outside by people who did not test themselves after their return and did not comply with the procedures. “