COVID19: everything you need to know about the Colombian variant

It is already responsible for several deaths recorded over the last two weeks in Belgium.

While the Delta variant of Covid-19 continues its wild ride all over the world, the Belgian media is worried about a new mutation of the virus—the so-called "Colombian" variant. Virologist Marc Van Ranst said:

We know that this new variant is in Belgium since the end of June, but in a very small percentage.

Seven deaths in Belgium

Seven residents of a nursing home located in Zaventem, in the Flemish Region, died in the span of two weeks, after being contaminated by this new variant. All of them were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to local media.

And if the contamination is now "under control", the establishment has nevertheless recorded no less than 20 contaminations, all within a ward in the nursing home reserved for patients with dementia. Of the seven patients who died, some were in poor health, but others were "relatively well". In total, about 20 outbreaks linked to this variant have been identified in Belgium.

A variant that is still not well understood

To date, we still have very little information about this new variant, which has not yet received an official name. Present since June in Belgium, it is also present in other countries. But first analyses seem to show that it is not more pathogenic than those currently circulating. Van Ranst explains that:

An investigation in England has shown that this variant is not more pathogenic than those we already know, but it is still too early to make definitive statements. It seems unlikely to me that it is stronger than Delta.

The WHO has classified it as a variant "to be monitored" and urged people to continue respecting social distancing measures to contain the virus as much as possible.

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