1NEWS – Since May 12, 2022 WHO officially declared the new variants of Covid-19, namely BA.4 and BA.5 as Variant of Concern. The variant, which was first discovered in South Africa, quickly spread to various countries and caused a spike in cases. Early studies in Europe showed that the changes in the characteristics of this new variant, apart from being more contagious, were also able to evade the immune system after infection with Covid-19 from the previous variant. However, this conclusion is still tentative and requires further study. According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the chance of transmission can decrease if a person has been vaccinated compared to those who have not been infected before.
Prof. Wiku Adisasmito, Government Spokesperson for Handling Covid-19, explained that in anticipation of new variants, the Government will continue to increase whole genome sequencing (WGS) efforts, conduct epidemiological studies on the distribution of variants, and ensure the effectiveness of testing tools, especially at entrances. “This is expected to be able to detect and handle cases with new variants well,” Wiku answered media questions in a virtual press release agenda.
So far, 8 cases related to BA.4 and BA.5 have been found in Indonesia. The emergence of new variants is inevitable. However, it can be prevented from spreading by implementing health protocols and a clean and healthy lifestyle. Epidemiological surveillance will continue to be carried out by the Government, to monitor the development of new variants as well as to analyze new variants from various countries so that in the future they can take appropriate policy steps.
According to learning in dealing with new variants in the past, it is mandatory for someone to increase personal awareness of carrying out health protocols. Apply according to applicable regulations and immediately vaccinate for those who have not. Experts agree that the vaccine is still quite effective in increasing protection from some of the new variants. “We hope that there will not be a significant increase in cases despite the discovery of new variants. Because in principle the cases caught will go through an isolation procedure until they are declared negative/cured,” explained Wiku.
Editor Suyanto Soemohardjo