"Mutations and other possibilities related to COVID-19 are still likely to develop and change. Hence, we need to be aware of them and prevent them," Aditama noted in a written statement received here on Friday.
Aditama spoke of the Health Ministry having earlier reported 26 new COVID-19 virus mutations in Indonesia.
The new mutations comprised 14 cases of mutation from the B117 virus variant, two cases from the B1351 virus variant, and 10 cases from the B1617 virus variant.
"If there is a new variant or mutation of COVID-19, experts will always analyze the possible impact on four aspects," he noted.
The possible impact is related to the ability of diagnosis by PCR test, the likelihood of increased transmission, the possibility of the disease becoming more severe, and whether these mutations will impact vaccine efficacy.
The experts could discuss three possibilities pertaining to mutations found in Indonesia.
"The first one is that the 26 new mutation cases are certainly based on the findings so far. If the number examined increases, it is possible that there will be more cases," he pointed out.
The next is that some of the 26 new mutation cases in Indonesia were from migrant workers, who returned to Indonesia by airplane.
"Hence, it has become the best practice to check all passengers seated two rows in the front and two rows at the back of passengers suspected of having contracted an infectious disease, such as COVID-19," he noted.
Such a situation is akin to the case experienced by All England national badminton athletes in March 2021, wherein reports surfaced of COVID-19 cases aboard the plane that was also carrying the athletes. They had to be eventually quarantined, although they all proved to be healthy and ready to compete.
Moreover, the discovery of COVID-19 mutations in Indonesia is also likely to spur more in-depth genomic analysis of new variants of COVID-19.
"Hence, it can be seen whether the mutation of the B1617 virus variant, for instance, belongs to the subtypes of B1617.1, B1617.2, or B1617.3, each of which exhibits a different behavior and have possible dangers to human health," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, the professor noted that the number of virus variants belonging to subtype B1617.2 had doubled in the UK, starting from 1,313 cases on Thursday (May 13) to 2,323 cases on Monday (May 17). Related news: Mutation affecting COVID vaccine efficacy: minister
Related news: Indonesia confirms fresh transmission of UK, S Africa variants
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