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Minister of Health Michel Chebat says Epsilon variant is in Belize

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Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021. 9:07 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Minister of Health and Wellness Michel Chebat said the Epsilon variant of SARS-CoV-2 is in Belize according to Love FM News.

Amidst many variants of the COVID-19 coronavirus such as the Delta and the Lambda, the Epsilon variant was first discovered last year in California, but unlike the Delta variant which is a categorized as a Variant of Concern, the Epsilon is a Variant of Interest like the Lambda.

Chebat said the Epsilon variant was detected in swabs that were sent abroad to be analyzed in March.

Chebat noted the Delta variant has not been detected here yet, but the Ministry is waiting on results for swabs done in May and June.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a Variant of Interest as: “A variant with specific genetic markers that have been associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralization by antibodies generated against previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy of treatments, potential diagnostic impact, or predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity.”

On the other hand, a Variant of Concern is more severe and infectious: “A variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.”

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