February 27, 2021

Types of COVID-19 may spread throughout Canada. Are labs enough to detect them?

Canadian laboratories have so far detected two dozen cases of COVID-19 in our country.

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One of the most highly contagious, first detected in the UK, South Africa or Brazil, is suspected of a recent outbreak in Barry. Hospital. Canada’s chief public health official says community outreach is already underway.

Corona virus: How scientists monitor new strains of the virus

Corona virus: How scientists monitor new strains of the virus

But when Iceland, Australia and New Zealand test all their COVID-positive events for variations, Canada shows only five percent.

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Administrative director Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) That number seems to be low, but he points out that Canada has a lot more cases than many other countries. According to Dr. Catalina Lopez-Korea, UK screening rates are an excellent comparison.

“The UK does six or seven per cent, and other countries like the United States do less than one per cent,” Lopez-Korea told Global News.

“For us, because we have a lot of cases in Canada … five percent already have good security.”

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Inside the hunt for corona virus species in Canada

Canada has so far tested more than 30,000 positive samples. It involves genetic sequencing – a costly, complex process that takes days.

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“The level work of diversity, due to the design of the technology, is very expensive, so we can’t do them all,” said Dr. Andrew McArthur.

He is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry at McMaster University.

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MacArthur’s lab helps screen for variations in Ontario. He explains that there are ways to speed up the process.

Click to play the video 'Corona Virus: Inside the Hunt for New COVID-19 Varieties in Canada'

Corona virus: Inside the hunt for new COVID-19 species in Canada

Corona virus: Inside the hunt for new COVID-19 species in Canada

For example, the UK variant can be detected by searching for specific mutations in the virus. That conclusion should be further confirmed by sequencing the entire gene.

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“Do you find everything (cases of variations)? No, but you make a tracking effort to indicate whether they are in the community or whether they are involved in travel,” McArthur said.

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Canadian laboratories also target specific groups: international travelers, cases related to explosions, persons re-infected with COVID-19 (they may be of special interest if vaccinated), and meaningless cases.

“We are looking for healthy young people under the age of 50 (or), or for some reason developing a very serious illness,” Lopez-Korea said.

Alberta Precision Laboratories have detected more than half of all different cases in Canada; Three of the strain 12, South Africans in the UK tested about 4,000 Alberta samples.

“Do we find the UK variant on travelers returning from the UK and Europe? Yes we do. Is it unexpected? No, it’s not unexpected,” said Dr. Graham Tipples, director of medical science.

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Tipples says the more screening, the better, but his lab says it “goes at full speed.” Even with more funding and equipment, increasing testing is not easy.

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“Some employees who do diagnostic tests have to have some training credentials … they’re all being hired. They’re not being hired anymore.”

The Laboratory owned by Alberta Health Services Creates quick tests for selected categories. But until the test increases, there is no way to know for sure what strains exist in the community.

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McArthur points out that travelers do not need to change the corona virus novel. The more it spreads, the more it can develop.

“It’s a game of numbers. As time goes on, more and more people will be affected and new genres will come.”

“You can see Quebec and Ontario,” McArthur said. “It’s a concern that we will create our own diversity.”

Approved COVID-19 vaccines protect against current variants, but it does not take long for one to change enough to escape that immune response.

“We’re in a sword fight between how many social cases we get and how quickly we can get vaccinated,” McArthur said.

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