Genomic sequencing results reveal that SA COVID-19 variant detected in some samples
The Ministry of Health and Social Services on Wednesday gave an update of the outcome of the genomic sequencing results for COVID-19 variants in Namibia.
The samples sent for genomic sequencing represent tests conducted between August 2020 and early February 2021.
“Of the 105 samples submitted for analysis, 81 samples were successfully sequenced and analyzed. The results were released on 6 March. They indicate that there is a diversity of lineages of the virus in Namibia,” he said.
According to Nangombe, the variant of concern (VoC) first identified in South Africa (20H/501Y.V2/B.1.351) was found in 16 out of 81 samples from ten of the regions in Namibia, isolated between October 2020 and February 2021.
“This was the same time this variant was detected in the South African population,” he said, adding that available information has shown that the variant of concern identified in South Africa is more transmissible compared to other variants.
Nangombe said the remnant samples were drawn from all Regions, namely Erongo, Omaheke, Ohangwena, Khomas, Kharas, Oshikoto, Omusati, Otjozondjupa, Oshana, Zambezi Regions. The ages of the persons from whom the samples were drawn range between 11 to 54 years.
Nangombe meanwhile said, the genomic sequencing results will inform important policy decisions in Namibia’s COVID-19 response and preparedness, including the selection of vaccines and other medical interventions.
“We will inform the nation of future developments in the COVID-19 response and related interventions,” he concluded.