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A2 PAN, the COVID-19 mutation in Panama

The Panama geographic position whole the time has been a competitive advantage for Panama. However, this pandemic made that competitive advantage at a disadvantage. Why the coronavirus Sars-Cov-2 mutated in Panama? 


According to the Ministry of Health of Panama, the first infected case register of Covid-19 in Panama was on May 9th, 2020, was a 40 years-old woman who came from Spain. After that, Panama registered new cases from Italy, France, the United States, and Asia.  


How did Panama prepare for the arrival of the COVID-19?


Panama prepared before the first case arrived. 


The Panamanian government prepared a strategy to hold the COVID-19 controlled. 


The plan included how and where to treat infected people. The number of medical personnel the country would need to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and many measures else. 


But like many other countries, the measures taken were not enough to stop it. So, the government took more control to prevent it ones the virus was inside the country.


A strict curfew was one of those new measures. People were allowed to leave home only certain days a week. Men some days and women others days and according to the last number of the id. 


But the coronavirus has been very difficult to hold under control. On May 17th,2020, the infected figures by COVID-19 in Panama were 21,962, 457 deaths, 13,774 recovered, and 95,299 tests carried out.  


A2 PAN, the COVID-19 mutation


Why the COVID-19 mutated? 


According to an article in the newspaper La Estrella de Panamá, about the Academic Webinar: Current Situation of Covid-19, endorsed by the Facultyof Medicine of the University of Panama.


In Panama, the coronavirus arrived from four variations of the virus around the world, making the COVID-19 mutates and creating a new strain. 


Juan Miguel Pascale, Gorgas Commemorative Institute for Health Studies Director (ICGES), said:

"The modifications in the virus variants gave rise to a new lineage, typical of the country, the A2 PAN" 


Now, the Panamanian scientists are researching more about the new coronavirus and its mutations.


Panama's geographic position this time was a disadvantage that allowed to the COVID-19 to hit to Panama powerfully. 


Panama's airports are closed, which stopped the access of more variations of strains of COVID-19 from the around the world to Panama.


The doctor and researcher at ICGES explained that the RNA viruses, like the one caused by Covid-19, do not have enzymes to edit copy errors. That means when the virus makes copies of itself, the enzyme that replicates the genome makes mistakes, which are known as mutations, mentioned the newspaper La Estrella de Panamá.


"It is the same as when you are writing. You make mistakes, and you use an editing program that immediately alerts and corrects. RNA viruses have no editing capacity", Palaes said.


And Pascale adds:

"When the airport reopened, and we see that the A2 PAN mentioned by other countries it is because someone who left, who left here (Panama), infected another person".


Why are the Covid-19 figures so hight in Panama?

One of the things that make it more challenging to overcome this pandemic is that we can only overcome it in society.


This crisis is testing the adaptation of our society.


Each one has to do their part, which translates into a group of united people, supporting each other. A weak link means a fall in domination due to the high level of virus contagion.


From this, we will only emerge as a society. And that is a considerable challenge for Panamanians.


In Panama, there is a combination of many things that have caused these high numbers of COVID-19.


Today we see the result of years of not investing in the health system of Panama. Years of not investing in our public education system.


And a society with many needs.


The fault is part and part, the governments for not covering those deficiencies, which is its obligation to cover. And from the Panamanian people for not claiming them.


Now Panama has, in general, a society with a low cultural level. That it costs them to move forward without the help of the State And worst of all, it fails to become aware of the pandemic.


A highly contagious virus, and in the few days that the country opened and removed the curfew, we saw crowds crowded in terminals, buses, and other places.


Hunger takes away the fear of the virus. That's very true. It is valid that thought of "hunger and the need will kill me before than virus".


Panama is now experiencing a very complex and challenging situation to overcome.


No one is to blame at this moment. Everyone tries to do the best to overcome it.


But now we pay the consequences of years of deprivation and social gaps never filled.


What is coming for Panama?

According to the mentioned article, it is little likely that Panama manages the herd immunity.

Panama needs 70% of seroprevalence, but its population only achieve between 5% and 6%. 


The highest case fatality rate in the country is in patients over 60 years, with more than 300 deaths. 


Patients between 20 and 60 represent 56% of hospitalizations, of which 25% die. 

Julio Sandoval, a doctor and advisor to the Ministry of Health of Panama for Covid-19, said:

"This population cannot be considered immune because it has a non-negligible percentage of deaths


Autopsies of patients infected with Covid-19 demonstrate endothelial damage and micro thrombosis, that is, inflammation and obstruction of the blood vessels. 


Panamanian intensivists have opted for steroid and heparin treatments to reduce deaths, more than four hundred in the country.


Some information published in this article was taken from the newspaper La Estrella de Panamá.


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