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Health News of Wednesday, 23 June 2021


Inability to do real time analysis delayed detection of Indian strain – Asiedu-Bekoe

Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe

The Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Franklin Asiedu-Bekoe says the contagious Covid-19 variant, originating from India, the Delta variant was only detected in Ghana a few days ago due to the inability of the service to conduct real-time analysis.

He insisted the variant is not within communities because although the service is no longer conducting enhanced contact tracing as it was done early on, contact tracing is being done.

Speaking in an interview with TV3’s Mercydalyne Lokko on Wednesday, June 23, Dr Asiedu-Bekoe said “It is just recently that they were detected all that we have gotten in the past had been purely the UK so it is not that we had the Delta as far back as in April.

“We started doing genomic surveillance since April and now just recently we had the Delta.

Asked how soon was the new variant detected? he answered “A few days ago we had the Delta. What they do is that the reporting is not in real time. It is not that today, Mercy, you are positive, they do the test on you and they say you have Delta. No. they do a kind of batch, so it takes a longer period of time before we get the analysis done.

“The Ministry is putting in some support so that we do a bit of close to real time analysis so that assuming you are positive today , you can tell me after a few days . Currently it is more of a batch reporting.”

Meanwhile, the GHS has announced that the deadly Delta variants of Covid-19 recorded in Ghana have not yet entered the community.

The variants were confirmed from samples taken from passengers at the Kotoka International Airport between April and June.

A statement by the GHS said “all passengers who test positive at Kotoka International Airport (KIA) are put under mandatory isolation.

“All positive samples are sent for further testing (genomic sequencing) to identify the variants. Variants sequenced from samples of positive cases at the Airport do not necessarily end up in the community.

“As of now, the country has detected six Delta variants of the SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus) from all samples taken between April and June, 2021 at the ports of entry. No Delta variant has been detected from samples taken from cases in the community.

“The MOH and GHS further informed the general public that, in April 2021, there was a surge in cases at the airport during which period 308 positives were identified.

“However, Ghana has not experienced a third wave partly due to the robust surveillance system in place at the ports of entry and strict isolation of all cases detected.”

On the issue of vaccines, the GHS noted that reports that Sputnik-V and AstraZeneca vaccines are not effective against the Delta strain of SARS-Cov-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) are untrue.

According to Public Health England (PHE) two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine are highly effective against hospitalisation due to the Delta variant and showed no deaths among those vaccinated.

The data also suggests that the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective against symptomatic disease caused by the Delta variant.