In the image, the Secretary of State for Health, Fábio Vilas-Boas April 01, 2021 | 18:13
Sesab doubles the speed of analysis of RT-PCR exams for Covid-19
With the installation of three new thermal cyclers, which are equipment used to detect Sars-CoV-2 (Covid-19) using the RT-PCR molecular biology technique, the Central Laboratory of Public Health of Bahia (Lacen-BA) the analysis speed doubled. Currently, the unit has performed more than 950 thousand RT-PCR tests since the beginning of the pandemic and is expected to reach 1 million in the next 15 days.
According to the Secretary of Health of Bahia, Fábio Vilas-Boas, “more than R $ 20 million have been invested in recent years by the State Government and the unit is now a national reference in RT-PCR type tests and genetic sequencing of samples Bahia and five other states (Sergipe, Alagoas, Piauí, Pernambuco and Rio Grande do Norte) ”, he says.
The general director of Lacen-BA, Arabela Leal, explains that other equipment will arrive soon. “We are in the process of acquiring three more extractors and two robotic pipetters that will further expand our capacity to perform RT-PCR, as well as other genetic sequencing equipment”, he points out.
The genetic sequencing of samples from Covid-19 by Lacen-BA is essential to know the routes of transmission of the virus, diversity and can help the development of vaccines and drugs for the treatment of the disease.
The Secretary of Health of Bahia explains that sequencing is the reading of an organism’s genome (DNA or RNA). “Knowing how Sars-CoV-2 (Covid-19) behaves at the genomic level helps the development of efficient vaccines and drugs, especially when considering the identified mutations. Drawing a parallel with other types of viruses, it is not uncommon for patients to develop “resistance” to the medication and this is not because the patient became resistant, but because of the virus ”, points out Vilas-Boas.
According to the general director of Lacen-BA, since the beginning of the operation in February this year, Bahia has already sequenced 176 samples, 32 of which were completed yesterday (31). “The variants of greatest attention are related to strains in the United Kingdom (B.1.1.7) and Manaus (P1), which are considered more contagious. Together, they were detected in the municipalities of Amargosa, Anguera, Brumado, Cipó, Cruz das Almas, Feira de Santana, Guanambi, Ilhéus, Itabuna, Itapetinga, Irecê, João Dourado, Lauro de Freitas, Luís Eduardo Magalhães, Mutuípe, Salvador, Santa Luz, São Sebastião do Passé and Serra Preta ”, he highlights.
The holder of the state health folder points out that the most effective way to fight the coronavirus is to speed up vaccination. “Bahia has already vaccinated 12.85% of its population, occupying the second position in a national comparison. However, the Ministry of Health needs to send more doses ”, he evaluates.
In addition to variants from Manaus and the United Kingdom, strains from Peru and Rio de Janeiro have already been detected in Bahia. Currently the Central Laboratory of Public Health of Bahia is the third largest laboratory surveillance unit in the country and classified in the maximum quality category by the Ministry of Health, being responsible for the sequencing of samples from the states of Bahia, Sergipe, Alagoas, Piauí, Pernambuco and Large northern river.
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