Omicron now has 93% prevalence in Portugal

…. as another strain detected

Omicron graphic

Expresso reports today that the Ómicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is now responsible for 93% of infections in Portugal. At the same time another strain has been detected with similar genetic characteristics, announced this Tuesday the Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA).

“Since December 6, there has been a high growth in the proportion of probable cases of the Ómicron variant, reaching a maximum estimated proportion (93%) between January 7-9”, says the INSA report on diversity. genetics of SARS-CoV-2, which causes covid-19.

According to the document, when the original Ómicron (BA.1) was identified in mid-November 2021, another lineage (BA.2) was detected with several genetic characteristics similar to each other and that present an “excess” of mutations in the ` spike’, many of them shared.

The BA.2 lineage has already been detected in several countries, highlighting its increasing proportion among the genomic sequences recently reported by the United Kingdom and Denmark.

There are three sub-lineage or strains of variants of Omicron, BA.1 (BA), BA.2 (BA.2) and BA3 (BA.3). Until now, the BA.1 strain has been making waves in the UK. But now it has been observed that BA.2 strain has been introduced in Britain. The BA.2 strain is the fastest spreading type of Omicron. According to the British newspaper Daily Express, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has succeeded in identifying 53 sequences of omicron in the UK. According to the UKHSA, 53 cases of Omaicron’s BA.2 strain have been reported in the UK.

The BA.2 lineage has already been detected in random samplings by sequencing from 27 December to 2 January, representing at least one introduction in the Algarve.

“The coming days will allow us to assess the evolution of the relative frequency of the BA.2 lineage in Portugal, as well as its dispersion by region”, says INSA.

As part of the continuous monitoring of the genetic diversity of SARS-CoV-2 carried out by INSA, an average of 519 sequences have been analyzed per week since the beginning of June 2021, from samples collected randomly in laboratories distributed throughout the 18 districts of Portugal. mainland and the autonomous regions of the Azores and Madeira, covering an average of 132 municipalities per week.

COVID-19 in Madeira: previous daily updates can be found in an earlier post

Travel latest: requirements for entering and leaving Madeira: is kept up-to-date on a previous post

New restrictions: a detailed updated explanation of the latest regulations can be found here

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