The "strong presence" of the C.37 coronavirus variant in Peru since last April has been confirmed, resulting in three variants in total, Health Minister Oscar Ugarte
announced on Monday.
According to the government official, this new variant could have caused the peak in COVID-19 cases during the second wave.
"The studies carried out by the National Institute of Health (INS)
and the Epidemiology Center of the Ministry of Health (Minsa) have confirmed the presence of a new variant in the country: the C.37 [...] a strong presence has been observed since April," he said at a press conference.
Ugarte affirmed that the C.37 is a variant of concern resulting from mutations, noting that two other variants had already been identified: the P1 or Brazilian variant and the V-117 or UK variant, which continue to spread.
The Brazilian variant is present in 17 out of the 19 regions evaluated, "in a percentage of 60% and 70% in some cases and in a lower percentage in others."
"The C.37 is a variant of interest because it has increased its presence in few months. The first case was detected in November and only 20 cases had been diagnosed by March," he explained.
The minister pointed out that a study conducted in April showed "a more accurate diagnosis with a predominant presence of C.37 compared to the previous ones; complementary and observation laboratory tests of clinical profile are needed."
The Cabinet member emphasized that this lineage has been identified in the United States, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, Spain, Germany, not only in Peru.