Director of Direct Contagious Disease Prevention and Control at the Health Ministry, Siti Nadia Tarmizi, said that her team is investigating the possibility of the emergence of three new variants of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in Indonesia.
This step, according to Nadia, is being carried out because three coronavirus mutations are currently under observation across the globe, namely B117, P1, and B1351. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has asked for a report on the results of Indonesian research on the three variants.
Recently, Indonesia confirmed the existence of a variant that was discovered in the UK, B117, in Indonesia. Six cases are known to have occurred and they were confirmed by tracing and sequencing the whole genome sequence (WGS).
“Variants P1 and B1351 have not been found, only B117 and N439K variants,” said Nadia.
She went on to say that there had been 48 cases of the new variant, N439K coronavirus, in Indonesia. However, so far, it’s not been established how this variant entered the country.
“For the N439K variant, the results laid out by the published tests are still limited to laboratory tests. Of course, the relationship must be seen again with actual events in the community,” explained Nadia.
Of the six people infect with B117, the Health Ministry has said that all of them had tested negative for COVID-19 based on PCR swab examinations.
The new P1 coronavirus variant was first discovered in Brazil and has since been detected in the United States, Britain, and Venezuela. Meanwhile, the coronavirus mutation B1351 is the new strain identified in South Africa.