New coronavirus strain in Vietnam more contagious: medical expert

Monday, 2020-08-03 16:44:52
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Several cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the community with unknown sources of infection.
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NDO - The strain of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 found in Vietnamese patients in this latest outbreak is more contagious than those detected several months ago, according to a senior medical expert.

Genome sequencing results show the virus, scientifically known as SARS-CoV-2, has mutated and can transmit more efficiently, said Professor Nguyen Gia Binh, former head of the ICU Department at Bach Mai Hospital.

The new strain has an infection rate of 5-6, meaning each infection will generate 5-6 new ones when the community is not immune and no preventive measures are taken, compared with the previous rate of 1.8-2.2.

The new COVID-19 outbreak first emerged in late July in the central city of Da Nang where more than 100 cases have been linked to local hospitals while several cases have also been reported in the community with unknown sources of infection.

As of 3 pm on August 3, Vietnam has reported 621 cases with six deaths, all in people with underlying conditions.

It is estimated that 1.4 million people across the country have travelled to and from the outbreak epicentre of Da Nang since July 1 and 800,000 visited hospitals in the city, which had been promoting local tourism prior to the outbreak.

Acting Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long stated that more cases are expected to be detected in other provinces and cities in the coming days.

To deal with the new outbreak, the treatment regimen has been modified to include psychological therapy, in addition to drug improvements, said Professor Nguyen Gia Binh.

He said the current remedy for the coronavirus is mainly designed to treat symptoms and underlying conditions, control the cytokine storm, an overreaction of the body’s immune response that can cause multiple organ failure, and provide nutritional support.

But now doctors will also carry out the duty of boosting the morale of patients while they remain conscious, said Professor Binh, adding that the seriously ill patients will also be classified by their severity in order to apply specific treatment plans.