In Italy, “based on the data currently available, the percentage of cases” from Kappa and Delta variants (‘Indian’ family) “reported to the Integrated Covid-19 Surveillance increased from 5.2% in May 2021 to 27, 7% in June, almost all of which attributable to the Delta variant “. This is what we read in the report of the Higher Institute of Health ‘Prevalence and distribution of variants of Sars-CoV-2 of interest for public health in Italy’, updated on 5 July. The report highlights the need for “great attention” to the circulation of variants.
“The frequency and diffusion of cases caused by the variants Kappa (lineage B.1.617.1) and Delta (lineage B.1.617.2) is increasing – underlines the report whose key data were illustrated by ISS president Silvio Brusaferro yesterday at the Ministry of Health, during the press conference on the monitoring of the control room of the Higher Institute of Health-dicastery – These are mainly associated with localized outbreaks identified in different areas of the country “.
“The variant of Sars-CoV-2 prevalent in Italy throughout the period continues to be the Alpha variant (lineage B.1.1.7), although there is a decreasing trend in percentage compared to the other variants”, notes the ISS. “The Gamma variant (lineage P.1) shows a greater diffusion in some Italian Regions / Autonomous Provinces, with an overall prevalence of 11.8% with a steady trend in the reference period”.
“In line with what has been observed in other European countries with high vaccination coverage – comment the experts – also in Italy an increasing diffusion of the Delta variant is confirmed. This variant is characterized by a further greater transmissibility and a partial reduction in the neutralization capacity of antibodies against previously circulating variants of the Sars-CoV-2 virus “. For this, the ISS recommends, “it is necessary to continue to closely monitor the circulation of variants of Sars-CoV-2, and in particular the presence of mutations attributable to greater transmissibility and / or associated with a potential ability to escape. the immune system response “.
THE CIRCULAR OF THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH
Strengthen tracking activities, enhance sequencing and accelerate vaccine boosters. These are the recommendations contained in a circular from the Ministry of Health, which dictates the measures in the light of an ‘Delta variant international alert: increase in Covid-19 cases in various European countries’. “The relaxation of control measures in recent weeks – reads the document signed by the Director General of Prevention, Giovanni Rezza – has generated an increase in the mobility of people at national and international level, leading to an increase in social interactions of the population. Italian context, in which the vaccination campaign has not yet reached sufficient coverage in all age groups, the spread of variants with greater transmissibility can have a significant impact “.
For this reason, “in order to contain and mitigate its impact, it is important” first of all “to maintain the incidence at values that allow the systematic tracking of most positive cases and the massive sequencing of Sars-CoV-2, to identify early and check the evolution of genetic variants in our country “.
“In light of the above, given the current distribution of variants of the Sars-CoV-2 virus, it is therefore recommended to: continue to closely monitor the circulation of variants of the Sars-CoV-2 virus – lists the ministerial circular – strengthen the tracing of cases and case contacts; promptly and scrupulously apply both the planned transmission containment measures and the isolation and quarantine measures in the event of Voc (Variant of concern, ed.) , for which reference is made to Circular no. 22746 of 21 May 2021 “.
Again, the dicastery recommends “applying the indications of the circular of the Ministry of Health n. 3787 of January 31, 2021, sequencing as a matter of priority the samples from: subjects vaccinated against Sars-CoV-2 who subsequently become infected despite the development of an immune response vaccine; subjects in high-risk contexts, such as hospitals in which immunocompromised patients positive to Sars-CoV-2 are hospitalized for long periods; cases of reinfection; subjects arriving from countries with a high incidence of Sars-CoV-2 variants; in case of increased incidence or change in transmissibility and / or virulence of infection in an area; subjects belonging to clusters to evaluate the chain of transmission and / or the effectiveness of infection containment strategies “.
Finally, it is necessary to “ensure vaccination strategies that take into account the possible lower protection against Delta variant infections after a single dose of vaccine, the sustained efficacy of full vaccination and the need to carry out a complete vaccination against Covid-19 as soon as possible. , if available, in individuals at risk of severe infection “.
“The Finnish health authorities report numerous cases of Covid-19 among the approximately 4,500 Uefa Euro 2020 fans returning from matches in Russia” also reminds the Ministry of Health. “Most of the return traffic to Finland – reads the text, signed by the Director General for Prevention of the ministry, Giovanni Rezza – took place between 21 and 25 June 2021. Starting from 1 July 2021, they were notified 481 confirmed cases among passengers returning from matches in St. Petersburg and 165 secondary cases. The analysis of a subset of samples taken from positive fan cases confirmed the presence of Delta variant in all cases so far sequenced “.