New SARS-CoV-2 variant in France appears undetectable by PCR

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New SARS-CoV-2 variant in France appears undetectable by PCR

News Medical Life Sciences ^

| Mar 17 2021
| Sally Robertson, B.Sc.

Posted on 03/23/2021 1:41:23 AM PDT by nickcarraway

French authorities have announced the emergence of a new variant of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in the northwestern region of Brittany that has escaped detection by standard polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is the agent responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that continues to ravage the globe and has now caused more than 2.67 million deaths.

An in-depth investigation is now underway in Brittany after genomic sequencing identified eight carriers of the variant among a cluster of 79 cases in the town of Lannion in the Côtes d’Armor on the 13th of March.

On Monday, the health ministry said in a statement that initial analyses of the variant do not suggest that this new strain is more transmissible or causes more severe disease than previous viral strains.

However, in a press conference on Tuesday, health officials said the failure of PCR tests to detect the virus is raising concerns.

Belgian virologist and interfederal COVID-19 spokesperson Steven Van Gucht clarified that about eight individuals presented with typical coronavirus symptoms, “but the tests remained negative.”

The announcement comes as France sees a resurgence in SARS-CoV-2 cases, with President Emmanuel Macron warning that new lockdown measures could be implemented in the days to come.

Image Credit: Hand Robot / Shutterstock Image Credit: Hand Robot / Shutterstock WHO categorizes new strain as “variant under investigation” The World Health Organization (WHO) has categorized the new strain as a “variant under investigation” (VUI) rather than a “variant of concern” (VOC) like the strains that were recently identified in Brazil, the UK and South Africa.

The VUI category includes thousands of naturally occurring variants, of which only a small fraction are likely to pose any risk to public health.

Related Stories Newly-discovered bat coronavirus 94.5% identical to SARS-CoV-2 ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine does not protect against South African SARS-CoV-2 variant SARS-CoV-2 variants with E484K mutation show mRNA vaccine-induced antibody evasion Investigations are currently underway to better understand the variant and its response to the protective antibodies generated following previous SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination against the virus.

However, as Gucht reminded people on Tuesday, it is expected that new variants will emerge as viruses constantly evolve mutations in their genome.

What about the testing? Furthermore, many different tests are used by different laboratories, and it is possible that a particular test may have problems detecting a certain variant, added Gucht.

“That does not necessarily mean that this is the case for all other tests – quite the contrary,” he said.

Each test detects one to three different parts of the virus and different tests can detect different parts.

“Usually, a good test does not depend on detecting one specific part. So, if there is a mutation in one part of the virus, that signal may be lost, but there is usually a second or third signal that will be found,” said Gucht.

Authorities are implementing the necessary monitoring and support In the meantime, French health authorities are implementing the necessary monitoring and support measures.

Public Health France and the National Reference Centers has set up a system for detecting and monitoring potential cases or carriers of the new VUI across areas including Lannion, Guingamp, Saint-Brieuc and Morlaix.

The general health directorate has also alerted health establishments and health professionals that the variant is being monitored.

Finally, as a precautionary measure, local authorities, prefectures and the Regional Health Agency are stepping up measures to mitigate viral spread by speeding up vaccination and reminding people about the importance of protective measures such as social distancing and restricting the number of people at gatherings.

Sources: Elisa Braun. New French coronavirus variant appears to bypass standard tests. Politco, 2021. Available at: Santé publique France. Press release, 2021, Maïthé Chini. New coronavirus variant found in France is undetectable by PCR tests, The Brussels Times, 2021. Available at:

TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: covid19

To: nickcarraway

posted on 03/23/2021 1:55:52 AM PDT
by Diogenesis
(Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum)

To: nickcarraway

How about funding a “gain of function” in viruses?

posted on 03/23/2021 1:58:08 AM PDT
by Does so
(The Media is the enemy of the people…Trial lawyers close behind…)

To: nickcarraway

Scary new boogeyman du jour.

YAWN… ZZZZzzzzz…. Just say no.

To: nickcarraway

posted on 03/23/2021 2:07:42 AM PDT
by ifinnegan
( Democrats kill babies and harvest their organs to sell)

And the only solution is more lockdowns and government control! Mandatory vaccinations!

posted on 03/23/2021 2:09:20 AM PDT
by ArcadeQuarters
(Socialism requires slavery.)

To: nickcarraway

posted on 03/23/2021 2:28:29 AM PDT
by RomanSoldier19
(Game over, man! Game over! ; : rem ad triarios redisse is)

To: nickcarraway

Yawn…when the death rate gets near 20%…maybe I’ll show a little concern. .03 – .07? Nope. I’m in Florida, off to work now, then the wife and I will go out to eat at any of the restaurants we want since Governor Desantis kept us open – without a mask.

posted on 03/23/2021 2:31:24 AM PDT
by USAF1985
(An armed population is a polite population…)

To: nickcarraway

posted on 03/23/2021 2:43:14 AM PDT
by PGalt
(past peak civilization?)

To: nickcarraway

But I just got “vaccinated” and so did my children, we all wear our masks as directed, abide by all protocols, and adhere to the government…….. /s The sheep have no idea the wolves are circling.

posted on 03/23/2021 2:46:30 AM PDT
by shanover
(…To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.-S.Adams)

To: PGalt

More fear mongering, no mention of any fatalities…

posted on 03/23/2021 2:50:16 AM PDT
by exnavy

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