Finnish COVID variant

 The Sars-CoV-2 virus continues to evolve with novel variants of the virus being described in: Denmark, Kent, South Africa, Brazil, California and now Finland. Each variant represents a change in the genetic make-up of the virus (the genome), which in some cases alters the behaviour of the virus. 

The concern about the latest Finnish variant is that changes in the viral nucleoprotein may make this latest variant more difficult to detect with some PCR tests. As with each of the previous variants, TAC is actively investigating the impact of this latest variant on our testing regimen. Our medical/scientific advisory team are doing this in conjunction with the manufacturers and will report back at the earliest opportunity. In the meantime, there are two important points that this new variant highlights or reinforces. 

The first point is that testing alone is not going to prevent spread of Covid – we need to use testing as an aide to other measures such as designing work patterns to allow good social distancing, observing appropriate hygiene measures and reporting any symptoms early. In other words taking responsibility ourselves for good practise to minimise the risk even if a case does slip through. 

The second point is a timely reminder that no one test is infallible. The results of all tests must be interpreted in line with the clinical situation and the situation with Covid infections is constantly changing. We have to be aware of this and have to be constantly monitoring our practise in line with observations on the different variants, the prevalence and the behaviour of the virus. 

TAC continue to monitor the overall situation and the performance of each of the tests we use against projected outcomes. As such, we are confident that appropriate testing is an important part in protecting us all from Covid whatever variant we are dealing with. 

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