Subtype of the Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading to Western Canada: health officials
A subtype of the COVID-19 variant is becoming prevalent in Saskatchewan and is spreading throughout Western Canada, but health officials say it is not considered a disturbing variant.
The AY.25.1 subtype is likely to have originated in the mid-west of the United States, where it mutated, said Dr.
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In Saskatchewan, the AY-25.1 and another subtype, the AY.27, have largely displaced the original Delta variant. AY-25.1 is also spreading inter-provincially in Alberta and British Columbia.
Health officials across Western Canada say the subtype is no longer contagious.
“There is no evidence that it causes more serious illness, that it avoids vaccine protection, that it is significantly different from the Delta variant that has been circulating,” said Dr. Deena Hinshaw, chief medical officer of Alberta Health, during a COVID-19. information.
“When viruses reproduce, they can slightly change their genetics, so sometimes you have these evolving sublines. “But that does not necessarily mean that they behave differently from that kind of parent, and this is the case with this particular subline.”
Dr. Saqib Shahab, chief medical officer at Saskatchewan, said the public should not read too much into the subtype.
“What we are seeing is something that all jurisdictions see,” Shahab said.
“If there is any disturbing trend emerging, we will bring it back to the public.”
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Minion, who is a member of the Pan-Canadian Public Health Network, said the Delta variant has spread to new evolutionary trees around the world including the United States, the United Kingdom and Asia.
“These evolutionary trees, which are still Delta, we are calling different AY-numbers,” Minion said.
“Having these different AY lines does not necessarily mean any biological change when we define it as a new line. “All we are saying is that there are new stable sequences in the viral code that have been amassed enough to make it noticeably different from what it was before.”
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Saskatchewan is monitoring the subline as required by international health regulations, but health officials reiterate that it is normal biology.
“Viruses do not stay static, especially COVID, which is given trillions of opportunities on a daily basis to evolve and mutate,” Minion said.
She said it is difficult for epidemiologists to understand why AY.25.1 has become prevalent in Saskatchewan.
Minion said the subtype may have more random mutations that are making it more transmissible. Or it could be “pure chance” because the virus could benefit from entering a population that was largely unvaccinated and involved in a super-spreading event.
Shahab said that while AY.25.1 is being monitored, it would have to relate to what health officials are seeing in terms of cases, hospitalizations and deaths to be a concern.
“As we look at this closely, the principles remain the same; make sure you are vaccinated ni follow public health measures. ”
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