Identities of variants circulating in the country to be released on Monday
The National Laboratory will research to determine which coronavirus strains are circulating in the country to formulate strategies.
Santo Domingo, DR
As of Monday, the country will have the first local results of identifying the variants of interest and concern circulating in the national territory and will continue to send samples abroad for the sequencing of the genome or determine if any new variant emerges.
The identification will be made at the Dr. Defilló National Public Health Laboratory, where a Genome Unit was established yesterday. The equipment that will allow the identification in real-time of the circulation of variants of interest and concern circulating in the national territory was put into operation.
Until now, the country has been sending positive samples of the virus to laboratories abroad, including Brazil and the CDC of Atlanta in the United States, to identify the variants of the Covid-19 virus circulating, whose results take more than a month and a half to be obtained, which hurts the epidemiological surveillance for decision making.
To date, the country has identified the circulation of different types of SARS-CoV-2 or Covid-19 variants, including Gamma and Alpha, which are highly contagious and aggressive. The details were offered yesterday during an activity headed by the Minister of Public Health, Daniel Rivera; the director of the National Laboratory, Ivón Imbert, the local representative of PAHO, Dr. Olivier Ronveaux, and the director of Epidemiology, Ronald Skewes, among other officials of the health sector.
10% of the samples
The Pan American Health Organization donated the first 10,000 reagents to be used for the Real-Time Thermal Cycler to identify the variants of the Covid-19 virus, provided the handling protocols, and collaborated in the training of human resources for the genomic surveillance of Covid-19 and other pathogens.
To determine the variants, 10% of the positive samples will be selected and subjected to five PCR tests, the results of which will be delivered weekly to the health authorities for appropriate interventions.
38,000 PCR tests
The director of the National Laboratory assured that its response capacity has been increased by 350% and that three work shifts have been established to offer a permanent service, being able to process 7,000 Covid samples.
In this regard, the Minister of Public Health revealed that during the last outbreak of the Covid-19 virus in the country, the Dr. Defilló National Laboratory processed 38,000 PCR tests which represented a saving of 565 million pesos.
Some 14,000 patients receive treatments through the High-Cost Medicines and Medical Aids (PMAC) of the Ministry of Public Health (MSP), whose purchases since last February are made through the Essential Medicines Program and Central Logistics Support (Promese/Cal).
Yesterday, both agencies’ directors revealed that purchasing high-cost medicines is more than 65% advanced. This week, they have carried out 11 procurement processes for these medical products and assured that they are working to guarantee the timely delivery of medicines to patients with complex diseases. For some weeks now, patients, among them those living with HIV, have been complaining about shortages and delays in delivering these medicines, which the Government supplies through the High-Cost Medicines Program of the Ministry of Health.
The details were given yesterday at a joint press conference held at the Ministry of Public Health headquarters by the directors of Promese/Cal, engineer Adolfo Perez, and PMAC, Dafne Villalba Sajiun.
Perez informed that they are working intensively to supply the medicines and that in the next few days, they will launch the processes for the acquisition of the remaining high-cost medicines. She pointed out that they have saved RD$260 million in purchasing some high-cost medicines due to their acquisition at lower prices.
The PMAC director said they are making efforts to order and deliver medicines to the more than 14,000 patients in the Program.
The country reported yesterday eight new deaths due to the Covid-19 disease, bringing to 3,945 the number of deaths due to this cause. In addition, 268 new positive cases were identified in the last 24 hours for a cumulative record of 340,498 diagnoses.
The new Covid-19 cases were detected in a total of 3,816 laboratory samples processed, bringing the daily positivity to 9.84% and that of the last four weeks.