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Cerkez: High risk of Developing Coronavirus Delta Strain in BiH

Assistant Minister of Health of the Federation of BiH Goran Cerkez said today that the epidemiological situation is still improving, but that it is necessary to continue adhering to the measures, given that there is a high risk of developing coronavirus delta strains.

“The epidemiological situation continues to improve, the number of coronavirus cases has decreased by 18.7 percent compared to last week, as many as 25 percent fewer people are in hospital, and mortality has also decreased by 60 percent compared to last week,” stated Cerkez at the press conference in Sarajevo after the session of the FBiH Government.

In the Laboratory for Molecular Genetic and Forensic Testing at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Sarajevo, there are five positive samples for coronavirus that will be subjected to further testing, since they could be potentially dangerous mutations.

As confirmed by the head of the Laboratory and a member of the Crisis Staff of the Federal Ministry of Health, prof. dr. Teufik Goletic, four samples belong to foreign citizens, and one to a citizen of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

“The reason these samples are suspicious is that they have irregular curves on PCR. However, this does not necessarily mean that it is a coronavirus delta strain, although there is a possibility. These are samples that must be sequenced in order to determine with certainty which mutation it is. It may not be a delta strain, it may be a mutation of the British strain which is dominant here, or the new, alpha strain of coronavirus,” told Goletic.

He added that there is no reason to panic because, as he repeated, it is still unknown whether it is a delta strain, and if so, Goletic claims that the existing vaccines have shown significant effectiveness against this strain as well.

“The largest number of studies, primarily those conducted in the United Kingdom (UK), the country that has done the largest number of coronavirus sequencing in the world, have shown that the vaccines Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which were included in the study, are effective against this strain. Actually, they’re a little less effective, from 12 to 17 percent, but they are still extremely effective vaccines. I hope that we will get them in larger quantities as soon as possible so that we can start with real mass immunization,” Goletic concluded.

To recall, the delta strain is a double genetic mutation of the coronavirus in its surface protein – E484Q and L452R, which indicates the exact position of the genome. Other known strains, which the World Health Organization (WHO) also named after letters from the Greek alphabet, have individual mutations. It first appeared in India, and is claimed to be much more contagious than other strains, but, it is still not known much about it, Klix.ba writes.

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