A case of the original coronavirus from Wuhan appeared in one patient in Banja Luka at the University Clinical Center of Republika Srpska (UKC of RS). This has raised questions about how many strains are circulating and how dangerous they are. The one that prevailed in Europe, as well as in our country, is the British strain. Given that it is not known how the virus will mutate in the future, we cannot know in which direction the epidemiological situation will develop.
The classic strain of coronavirus, originally registered in Wuhan, China, was isolated at the UKC of RS. Currently, the British strain of the virus predominates in this institution, which has been confirmed in 86% of patients. Also, the largest number of them, 528, is being treated at the Clinical Center.
“Some mutations lead to the virus not being able to survive, while some lead to rapid transmissions, such as the British one, which is dominant at the moment. No one from the scientific community can predict in which direction this will all go, because it is impossible to predict which new strain will emerge from all of this, ” told Maja Travar, Department of Clinical Microbiology, UKC of RS.
There are currently 12 different genetic lines of coronavirus circulating in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), of which the British strain, as the most dominant, is in focus here as it is in European countries. The Czech strain is also in the focus now, while the South African is also considered to be among the more dangerous ones.
“It is a fact that these two strains are very easily transmitted, and among other things, it has led to this situation we are in and which will obviously be the same in the upcoming period,” stated Teufik Goletic, head of the Molecular Genetic and Forensic Research Laboratory at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Sarajevo.
For doctors who treat the most severe patients in hospitals daily it is not important which strain of the virus appears, because each of them when it develops, can lead to a fatal outcome in the patient.
“When a patient comes to us at the department of intensive care, it does not make any difference, no matter what strain he has, he develops the most difficult clinical picture of pneumonia and for us, the strain plays no role whatsoever in the treatment,” said Pedja Kovacevic, Department of Intensive Care Medicine for Non-Surgical Branches at UKC of RS.
When it comes to the authorities at the level of BiH, the obligatory PCR test when entering the country does not play any role in mitigating the pandemic. The borders are open to everyone, while at the same time our citizens can only enter Serbia, Montenegro, and Northern Macedonia without mandatory test results. Infectologists warn that such a decision will lead to a catastrophe.
“What is happening in our country is inadmissible and can almost be linked to insanity. For us to be the country that is the most open and to allow ourselves with such a weak health system for all the world’s strains that exist to enter here… It is unacceptable. We should ask them who they consulted when they made such a decision, ” emphasized Ednan Drljevic, infectologist.
Given the large number of mutations that will continue, it is difficult to precise what the epidemiological situation will look like, especially in the following period when a large number of arrivals are expected for the upcoming holidays, especially of our citizens from the diaspora.