After a first edition on 7 and 8 January, the Cerba HealthCare Group laboratories took part in the second part of the Flash survey on 27 January. All PCR-positive strains come from our network of Cerballiance clinical pathology laboratories, and customers of our Cerba specialised clinical pathology laboratory. 


From the testing:
From a total of 23,167 nasopharyngeal samples taken, we identified 9.4% positive tests.


From the screening test: 
From a total of 2,136 samples analysed, 14.1% are suspected of carrying the British variant (20I/501Y.V1) and 3.7% another variant. 

The screening tests carried out by Laboratoire Cerba represent more than a third of variant testing carried out as part of the study of 27 January (31.5%). 
Among the regions with a significant number of cases (more than 100), a significant disparity was observed. In some regions, there is a low frequency of British variants of around 5% (Provence, Rhône-Alpes Centre Est, Normandy), while others have a high frequency of around 15 to 23% (Cote d’Azur, Ile-de-France Sud, Paris and Ile-de-France Est). 


From the sequencing: 

From 170 sequenced samples, 105 were confirmed as presenting a UK variant (20I/501Y.V1) called the “British” variant, 20 had an SA variant (20H/501Y.V2) called the “South African” variant and two showed the presence of the BR variant (20J/501Y.V3) called the “Brazilian” variant. The Brazilian variants were identified in Ile-de-France and the South African variants in Ile-de-France, PACA and Normandy. 

Variants with atypical profiles were also detected in 22 samples. One of the atypical profiles had already been identified in the first Flash survey of 7 and 8 January (presence of the E484K mutation without the N501Y mutation). A new variant was also identified. 
Their profiles were shared with the Lyon CNR (Prof. Lina) to update the reference framework for the variants and to investigate their origin in detail. 


“The presence of these new atypical variants emphasises the importance of massive epidemiological surveillance by high-throughput sequencing, the only technique capable of detecting emerging variants for which targeted PCR tests do not yet exist,” explains Sylvie Cado, CEO of Laboratoire Cerba


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