Breton variant testing will be more difficult

Breton variant testing will be more difficult

A different type of Coronavirus appeared in Brittany and is still not visible in the tests. This was evident at the end of last week in a group of 79 patients who were transferred to a hospital in Lanyon after an outbreak at the start of this month. Dozens of them had a negative PCR test, despite the symptoms of Covid-19 clearly showing. The Breton Health Service announced Monday that at least eight of them have contracted a type of virus that the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test does not control.

The alternative appeared only in the analysis of patients’ lung mucus. And the French researchers saw that the virus had nine new mutations. Some have something to do with the spike protein that the coronavirus uses to reach cells. But not all. The French cannot tell whether mutations have made the virus contagious or more pathogenic.

At first it appeared that mutations were the reason for the failure of the PCR test. The test identifies the virus through parts of a genetic code, such as a type of fingerprint. The mutations may have hidden or recorded fingerprints.

However, RIVM maintains that it is not the test that fails, but rather it falsely occurs when nasal mucus is ingested. The Breton variant appears to settle deeper into the nose, so that cotton swabs do not reach it very often. This also has an advantage: the virus that cannot be caught by a stick also has a greater difficulty spreading.

According to RIVM, this variant has not been observed in the Netherlands.

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