Lithuania must immediately start analysing coronavirus mutations, something it has not done on a broad scale until now, health experts said on Tuesday.
The proposal was discussed during President Gitanas Nausėda’s virtual conference with the Council of Health Experts, the president’s advisory panel on the coronavirus, along with Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė and Health Minister Arūnas Dulkys.
Professor Edita Sužiedėlienė of Vilnius University said she had no doubt that coronavirus mutations appeared in Lithuania, too, and that the country had to monitor them.
“It’s necessary to continuously monitor the spread of those variants, but there’s one big problem: we need to do full analysis of the viral genome,” she told reporters. “Britain has developed that research to a very large scale, something we can’t say about ourselves.”
“The council of experts recommends consolidating research capacities and competencies in science centres so that we could begin systematic analysis of the genomes of the virus circulating in Lithuania,” she said.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has recently issued “insistent” recommendations to launch this kind of research immediately, she noted.
Sužiedėlienė said it was also necessary to monitor travellers comingfrom the United Kingdom.
Lithuania has the necessary equipment to conduct such research, but there isn’t enough funding for the necessary reagents, she noted.
Lithuania and a number of other EU member states have recently banned passenger flights from the UK amid fears about a new strain of the coronavirus in the country.