The variant VOC-202012/01 (British variant) of the SARS-CoV-2 virus already causes 13% of all cases of Covid-19 in the southern metropolitan area of Barcelona, according to the screening of this variant that is carrying carried out since the end of December the Microbiology Service of the Southern Metropolitan Territorial Clinical Laboratory (LCTMS) of the ICS, located in the Bellvitge University Hospital. The monitoring carried out by this Service reveals that, for the past five weeks, the trend in this geographical area - as is probably also the case in the rest of Catalonia - has been a continuous increase in the proportion of cases of the British variant.
Week | % VOC -202012/01
28 december to 3 of january: 4%
from 4 to 10 of january: 6%
from 11 to 17 of january: 7%
from 18 to 24 of january: 11%
from 25 to 31 of january: 13%
This follow-up also reveals that the variant appears not only in localized foci, but in a large and widespread number of municipalities. Specifically, in the southern metropolitan area, residents of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat and more than a dozen municipalities in the Baix Llobregat have been detected. Shortly after the first international alert was communicated on the high transmissibility of the new variant VOC-202012/01, the Microbiology Service of the Southern Metropolitan Area of the ICS decided to launch a screening to monitor its presence in its territorial scope. This service has performed more than 500,000 SARS-CoV-2 PCRs since the beginning of the pandemic. It currently conducts between 25,000 and 30,000 weekly PCRs, which include determinations for screening at nursing homes, schools and health institutions in the territory. At the same time, it retrieves a random sample of between 10% and 25% of positive PCRs daily in order to identify the British variant. Since the genetic sequencing of the virus is technically complex and the result takes several days, the identification is initially done by a type of PCR that detects the absence of a gene that is not found in the British variant (S gene drop technique -out). As of January 31, he has made a total of 1,412 determinations using this technique. Identification of the variant by S gene drop-out is then confirmed by genetic sequencing in 95% of the samples studied.