The first case of the Indian variant of COVID-19 discovered in Quebec was ultimately not the same: Public Health concluded it was a mistake after a thorough analysis.
The National Institute of Public Health of Quebec (INSPQ) confirmed to magazine The first case of variant B.1.617 (or Indian variant), detected on April 19 in the Mauricie and Center-du-Québec regions, was the subject of “erroneous classification”.
Quebec had detected 11 cases of the Indian type as of last Friday. It was not possible for us to know if the review of this case had an effect on this balance sheet.
According to INSPQ, this is due to modifications made to the international variant classification system, nicknamed the “Pangolin” system. This is updated regularly to improve its effectiveness.
“When the case came out, the tool was [système Pangolin] Not trained with robust dataset which resulted in wrong classification, email was sent to us. The next release on Pangolin has re-modified the dataset. “
However, even today, this system remains imprecise for classifying the Indian variant, defined in INSPQ.
India, where the variant B.1.617 appeared, has seen an unusual explosion of COVID-19 cases in recent weeks.
This epidemiological situation can be linked to the evolution of data about this variable, according to virologist Benoit Barbeau, professor of the Department of Biological Sciences at UQAM.
“It could show rapid development of this virus and in a country like India where there is so much transmission that it is difficult to reach a consensus.”
Mr. Barbu also believes that there may be concern about refining the data to properly identify the most important variables.
For his part, retired virologist Jacques Lapierre wants INSPQ, which has not released a new report on this alternative since last Friday, more information.
“If it were not a different Indian species, they would have to tell us what it is. We would like to have more details about this variant since we suspect it is more dangerous than others.”