The South African variant of the coronavirus (501Y.V2) has been identified in the Netherlands for the first time. It was found in one person in the safety region (Veiligheidsregio in Dutch) Mid and West Brabant. On 22 December a test sample was taken from this person. The Municipal Public Health Service (GGD) has started source and contact tracing. The weekly samples taken in the RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment laboratory showed on 7 January that it concerns the South African variant of the coronavirus.
The South African variant of the coronavirus Sars-CoV-2 is one of the many variants of the virus. Viruses change constantly. Much is still unknown about the South African variant. Just as the UK variant, it seems to be more infectious. How the virus reacts to the currently available COVID-19 vaccines is now being investigated worldwide. So far, there is no reason to assume that the course of illness will be different or more severe than the variant currently most commonly found in the Netherlands. Through laboratory research, we monitor how this variant is spreading in the Netherlands.
Pathogen surveillance: laboratory research into variants of SARS-CoV-2
The presence of the South African variant in the Netherlands was identified in a national surveillance programme involving a joint effort by 21 laboratories in the Netherlands: the pathogen surveillance. The laboratories regularly send a random sampling of the test samples to RIVMNational Institute for Public Health and the Environment or Erasmus MC, where the genetic information of the virus is investigated. This makes it possible to map which variants are occurring in different locations in the Netherlands and whether there are any new variants. This is called sequence analysis.
Coronavirus measures continue to be important, regardless of variant
Viruses are known to change frequently. The measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) in the Netherlands continue to be important, regardless of which variant it is. Follow the basic hygiene measures, get tested as soon as possible if you develop (mild) symptoms, and comply fully with the isolation and quarantine measures.