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Delta variant comprises majority of Costa Rica cases

Costa Rican authorities on Monday confirmed the continued spread of the Delta coronavirus variant within the national territory.

As part of its ongoing genomic vigilance, the Institute for Nutrition and Health Research (INCIENSA) identified that 71 of the 116 people who tested positive for Covid-19 and whose samples were sequenced had the more-contagious virus variant.

“The above data are a reflection of the weekly increase that the percentages of the Delta variant continue to show in the country,” said the director of the Genomics Laboratory, Francisco Duarte, through a press release.

Delta’s spread in Costa Rica is consistent with what has been observed in other countries, where the variant has come to represent nearly all sequenced samples, INCIENSA explained.

Researchers also detected the Mu variant in 14 of the 116 samples, while an infant with Covid-19 in San José had a spike protein mutation (K417N) associated with vaccine resistance.

Mu is described as a “variant of interest” by the World Health Organization, and while its mutations indicate “potential properties of immune escape,” more research is needed to understand the variant’s impact.

INCIENSA conducts genomic analysis on a small sample of positive cases that are meant to be representative of the epidemic in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica maintains some Covid measures, including driving and capacity restrictions, in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths have risen over recent weeks.

“Vaccination continues to mean a significant reduction in the risk of being hospitalized, including with the Delta variant,” Health Minister Daniel Salas said when the variant was first identified in Costa Rica.

“Delta continues to be the same form of transmission, so we maintain the same recommendations,” he said.

You can review the Costa Rica’s restrictions here.

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