“As of today, we have reported that no less than 5,835 sequencing results, comprising 2,300 Delta variant, have been identified in 33 provinces,” the ministry’s spokesperson for COVID-19 vaccinations, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, disclosed during an online press conference here on Friday.
The ministry’s research and development agency, along with several laboratories of higher education institutions in Indonesia, is monitoring all variant appearances as per the WHO (World Health Organization) guidelines pertaining to mutation grouping based on either variant of concern (VoC) or Variant of Interest (VoI), she expounded.
VoC refers to a variant considered more threatening in terms of transmission or lethality and more resistant to either vaccine or treatment, she said. Meanwhile, VoI requires further investigation to understand its characteristics, she added.
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Tamizi noted that virus variants currently included in the VoI criteria along with Mu are Eta (B.1.525) that was first detected in some countries in December 2020; Lota (B.1.526), first detected in the United States on November 2020; Kappa (B.1617.1), first detected in India on October 2020; and Lambda (C.37), first detected in Peru on December 2020.
Meanwhile, the virus variants categorized as VoC comprise Alpha (B.117), which was first detected in Britain on September 2020; Beta (B.1.351, B.1.351.2, B.1.351.3), first detected in South Africa on May 2020; Gamma (P.1, P1.1, P.1.2), first detected in Brazil on November 2020; and Delta (B.1617.2, AY.1, AY.2, AY.3), first detected in India on October 2020.
“It is including local variant appeared in Indonesia. We are monitoring also the Mu variant currently spread in 46 countries. Until now, it is not detected yet in Indonesia,” Tarmizi said.
Since the Mu variant was investigated by the WHO on August 30, 2021, some experts have said that the variant is potentially immune to vaccine, she noted.
The Indonesian government is striving to prevent imported cases of the new variant by enforcing restrictions on the international quarantine policy for entry and exit testing as well as mandating all foreign travelers to get vaccinated, she added.
“We are coordinating with WHO to keep on updating the information pertaining to Mu variant and other variants potentially spread in Indonesia,” she noted.
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