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Covid-19: Surge testing for the South Africa variant begins in England

BMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n305 (Published 02 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n305

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The need to provide the global public with accurate information about SARS-CoV-2 variants

Dear Editor

 In a BMJ article entitled “Covid-19: Surge testing for the South Africa variant begins in England”, Iacobucci described the UK’s planned steps to deal with a SARS-Cov-2 variant [1]. These British efforts are advanced activities.

 About a year has passed since COVID-19 broke out around the world. As of February 3, 2021, the cumulative number of the infected worldwide totaled about 103 million and the cumulative number of the dead totaled about 2.24 million [2]. Containment is still a distant goal. In the UK, the cumulative number of the infected totaled about 3.84 million and the cumulative number of the dead totaled about 110,000 [1]. In Japan, the cumulative number of the infected totaled about 390,000 and the cumulative number of the dead totaled about 6,000 [3]. In the Republic of Kazakhstan, the cumulative number of the infected totaled about 190,000 and the cumulative number of the dead totaled about 2,500 [4]. COVID-19 is serious.

 One of the issues currently troubling the world is “SARS-Cov-2 variants”. In December 2020, the UK confirmed the existence of a mutant strain of SARS-CoV-2. That month, people infected with a SARS-CoV-2 variant were not just confirmed in the UK but also in several other countries, including Japan. There now appear to be several variants of SARS-CoV-2, one of which is the South Africa variant. Accurate information about all of the SARS-CoV-2 variants, such as the severity of symptoms, the severity of COVID-19 each causes, and the effectiveness of vaccines, has not been obtained [5].

 SARS-Cov-2 variants have recently become a major topic of discussion, but at the current point in time the public does not even understand many of the established facts about SARS-Cov-2 variants. Therefore, individual countries and the entire world need to continue efforts to learn more about those variants and the public needs to be dutifully informed of correct information about SARS-Cov-2 variants.

Ken Inoue (1), Nursultan Seksenbayev (2), Yoshiyuki Ohira (3), Noriyuki Kawano (4), Timur Moldagaliyev (2), Nargul Ospanova (2), Nailya Chaizhunusova (2)

(1) Kochi University, 2-5-1 Akebono-cho, Kochi-shi, Kochi 780-8520, Japan
Email: ke-inoue@med.shimane-u.ac.jp
(2) Semey Medical University, Kazakhstan
(3) International University of Health and Welfare, School of Medicine, Japan
(4) Hiroshima University, Japan

References
1. Iacobucci G. Covid-19: Surge testing for the South Africa variant begins in England. BMJ 372: n305, 2021
2. NHK. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/special/coronavirus/world-data/. Accessed 3 Feb 2021
3. NHK. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/special/coronavirus/data-all/. Accessed 3 Feb 2021
4. Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan. https://www.anzen.mofa.go.jp/od/ryojiMailDetail.html?keyCd=106351. Accessed 3 Feb 2021
5. NHK. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/special/coronavirus/detail/#mokuji1. Accessed 3 Feb 2021

Competing interests: No competing interests

05 February 2021
Ken Inoue
Professor and Doctor
Nursultan Seksenbayev, Yoshiyuki Ohira, Noriyuki Kawano, Timur Moldagaliyev, Nargul Ospanova, Nailya Chaizhunusova
Research and Education Faculty, Medical Sciences Cluster, Health Service Center, Kochi University, Japan
2-5-1, Akebono-cho, Kochi-shi, Kochi 780-8520, Japan