10 samples sent to T&T test negative for new COVID-19 variants

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The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad and Tobago has officially informed Guyana that the 10 samples sent to its lab did not reveal traces of any of the new COVID-19 variants.

Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony in his daily update on Thursday said samples will continue to be sent to CARPHA to test for the variants; the first 10 samples were sent last month.

“Last night CARPHA informed us that the 10 samples we sent to them, that they have been able to complete the gene sequencing and they haven’t’ found any of the new variants that are currently talked about – that is the variant first discovered in the UK, the one in South Africa and the one next door [Brazil] – so in a way that is good news,” Dr Anthony said.

The minister had previously stated that gene sequencing is a lengthy and complicated process and Guyana currently does not have the capacity do conduct gene sequencing.

The variant in the United Kingdom was discovered in November last year and is now circulating in 80 countries. Another variant was discovered in South Africa in early October 2020 and is now circulating in more than 40 countries, while in neighbouring Brazil, another variant was discovered and has been confirmed in 10 countries.

Experts have found that these new variants are more transmissible.

In the meantime, the government is still working out arrangements with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to send more samples for testing of the new variants to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States.

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