DOUALA, Cameroon

The omicron and delta coronavirus variants are both circulating in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Pasteur Institute of Bangui confirmed Monday. 

“Based on genomic surveillance data, 80 complete SARS-CoV-2 genome sequences obtained from 179 samples, the Pasteur Institute of Bangui reports a significant circulation of the omicron variant,” the institute said in a press release.

Of this number of sequences, it reported 72 cases of omicron and four of the delta variant, while 50 samples are being sequenced at the Pasteur Institute in Dakar, Senegal, where the samples are being sent.

It said the identification of these two variants “is a new point in the situation of the COVID-19 epidemic” in the CAR and a reminder of “the challenges related to sequencing.”

“Work is continuing to achieve an exhaustive mapping of circulating lineages in the country, an analysis of the results generated as well as the dissemination of these via the GISAID platform as an African regional hub,” the health institute added.

GISAID is a global science initiative and primary source established in 2008 that provides open access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic.

The institute also stressed that the CAR has been shaken by a third wave of the health crisis.

As of Feb. 4, the World Health Organization (WHO) had listed more than 14,000 coronavirus cases and 110 deaths in the CAR, which has a population of more than 4.9 million.

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