Indonesia Keeps a Close Eye on COVID-19 AY.4.2 Variant



Laila Afifa

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  • TEMPO.CO, JakartaThe Indonesian government is closely monitoring a new strain of the coronavirus, AY.4.2, which has been found in a neighboring country, Malaysia, said the Coordinator for the Java-Bali public mobility restrictions (PPKM) Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan in a press conference held virtually, Monday, November 8.

    According to Luhut, various policies need to be applied following the emergence of the new variant which is dubbed the Delta Plus variant. “The quarantine period for people from abroad can possibly be increased to up to seven days. We are very careful about it,” he said.

    Professor at the Pulmonology and Respiratory Medicine Department of the University of Indonesia’s (UI) Medical School, Tjandra Yoga Aditama, explained AY.4.2 is a sub-lineage of the Delta variant or B.1.671.2. There are 75 types of sub-lineage of the Delta variant classified as AY, and the most widely discussed among them is AY.4.

    Based on data from the U.K, the AY.4 variant has dominated the COVID-19 cases in the country or about 63 percent of new cases in the past month. The number of cases of the AY.4.2 variant, meanwhile, continued to increase. On October 4-11, the variant accounted for 8.5 percent of new cases. The figure rose to 10.3 percent on October 11-18 and 11.3 percent on October 18-25.

    According to the genome database GISAID, there were 26,000 genomes of the AY.4.2 variant have been reported. “This variant has been reported from 42 countries and is said to contain the A222V and Y145H mutations,” said Tjandra via a text message to Tempo, Tuesday, November 9.

    Professor Tjandra, who is also a former Regional Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) for Southeast Asia 2018-2020, went on to say that there are five possible impacts from the emergence of a new variant, namely the transmission, the severity of disease, the possibility of reinfection, as well as the impact on diagnosis and vaccines. “[We still have] early data on the AY.4.2 variant, and scientific evidence is still being collected.”

    Read: Eijkman Finds Covid-19 Delta Plus Variant in Indonesia