Covid-19 in Bulgaria: Omicron strain found in all 36 samples – NCIPD

Bulgaria’s National Centre for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (NCIPD) said on September 18 that it has completed the sequencing of the latest group of samples taken from Covid-19 patients in the country, finding the Omicron coronavirus strain in all 36 samples.

NCIPD said that the samples, taken over a period of time ranging from June 28 to August 23 in seven out of Bulgaria’s 28 districts, showed that while the XBB.1.5 lineage and related subvariants, which NCIPD collectively referred to as XBB.x, remained the most frequently-encountered lineage, it was no longer the dominant one in Bulgaria.

XBB.1.5 is a sub-lineage of XBB, which evolved from two earlier lineages of Omicron, with an additional spike change, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

ECDC has currently designated XBB and XBB.1.5-like sublineages as variants of interest and XBB.1.16 as a variant under monitoring.

NCIPD’s latest sequencing dataset showed the XBB.x lineage was present in 13 cases or 36.1 per cent of the samples, compared to 68.7 per cent of the samples in the previous batch sequenced by NCIPD, the results of which were announced on August 11.

The sample size is one of the smallest sequenced by NCIPD in recent years, likely due to the decrease in Covid-19 cases over the summer, although the morbidity rate and number of active cases has been on the rise in recent weeks.

The remaining samples in the latest dataset were nine cases of the FY.x lineage, seven cases of the EG.x lineage, four cases of the FL.x lineage and one case apiece of the GE.1, GF.1 and HF.1 subvariants.

As of August 24, two patients in the NCIPD sample group had died, 15 were undergoing home treatment and 19 had recovered, NCIPD said.

(Photo: Military Medical Academy)

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