ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — The head of Laboratory at the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, Dr. Lester Simon, says the Delta variant is the major strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Antigua and Barbuda and is fuelling an increase in positive cases in the country.
Speaking on the state-owned ABS TV on Sunday night, Dr. Simon, who is also chairman of National Technical Working Group on Vaccines, said that “Delta has taken over Antigua and Barbuda.
He told viewers that, based on the samples sent to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), there have been a significant number of Delta cases found in the country.
“And it could in fact be more because there were six unknown…because the material was not of high enough quality and there were two that were likely to be Delta, but they weren’t 100 percent certain…so I left those out.
“But of the 59 that were conclusive, 34 of them or 58 percent of them were Delta and 20, or 34 percent were Alpha, and three and five percent respectively, Beta and Gamma. So what it says to us is that in simple language, not only are the four variants of concern here, but Delta has taken over Antigua and Barbuda.
“Fifty-eight percent of what we tested so far, we sent down some 20-odd last week (to CARPHA) and we should be getting some more information to support and I think it will support this information that Delta has taken over the strains, the variants in Antigua and Barbuda.”
In his television interview, Dr. Simon showed graphs indicating the genomic sequencing of the samples taken, showing the presence of a number of “Delta plus” variants AY.3, AY.4, and AY.12, also known sub lineages of the delta variant.