The diffusion of the Delta variant in Italy is growing and currently corresponds to 9% of the total genetic sequences of the SarsCoV2 virus deposited by our country in the international Gisaid database: this is indicated by the analysis made for ANSA by the Bioinformatics Group of the Ceinge center. -Advanced biotechnologies directed by Giovanni Paolella. Among the authors of the research Rossella Tufano and Angelo Boccia, who specify that the statistics resulting from the analysis “are based on the sequences published in Gisaid and, inevitably, cannot represent the exact spread of the virus in the territory”. The analysis also shows that Puglia (35%) and Trentino Alto Adige (26%) are the regions in which the Delta variant is currently the most widespread.
The data examined in the Gisaid bank are updated as of June 21, 2021 and the analysis indicates that, of the 1,193 sequences deposited in total, 108 (about 9%) correspond to the Delta variant (B.1.617.2). There is an “increase – the researchers note – compared to what was reported for the period 15/05/2021 – 16/06/2021, in which the Delta variant corresponded to 3.4%”.
The Ceinge analysis also indicates that the Alpha variant continues to be predominant, with 883 sequences depositing, albeit passing from the previous 79% to the current 74%.
As for the regions, most of the sequences corresponding to the Delta variant come from Puglia (38, equal to about 35%), followed by Trentino-Alto Adige (28, 26%), Veneto (20, about 18%). ), Umbria (11, 10%), Sardinia (5, 5%), Campania (3, 3%), Lazio, Sicily and Lombardy (1 each, 1%)
That we must go fishing for data in the sea of sequences stored in international banks is due, unfortunately, to the fact that with the exception of Great Britain, the whole world is collecting few sequences of the virus and Italy is no exception.
“There are few sequences of viral genomes produced in Italy and available in databases”, observes geneticist Massimo Zollo, of the Federico II University of Naples and coordinator of the Ceinge Covid-19 Task Force.
According to Zollo, there are several factors that explain the low number of sequences obtained in Italy. “The number of ‘new’ positives certainly influences the trend of the few sequences produced in the last month. It is noted that the tracing network on the positive territory has loosened, there are fewer employees used for this emergency. Finally, the laboratories they seem to have run out of stocks, the funds to purchase materials for sequencing and the staff to generate the data and, more importantly, the centers of excellence, even if equipped, are not involved, thus reducing the ability to be effective on time in obtaining and trace the variant in a short time “.
For the geneticist “it is necessary to identify ad hoc centers that give continuity to the action in sequencing, the only weapon for rapid tracking in identifying new variants, the cost and times in obtaining the sequencing of the entire viral genome are now very competitive therefore we need to accelerate in this direction as the United Kingdom and Germany are doing “.