|Associate Professor Dr. Le Huu Song.
Bao Tram: Thank you, Associate Professor Dr. Le Huu Song for granting VOV this interview. We know that the Vietnamese German Center for Medical Research conducted genome sequencing on the patient following a positive PCR test result. Can you tell us how you identified the Omicron variant in this case?
Ass. Prof. Le Huu Song: As soon as the carrier landed at Noi Bai International Airport, he had a positive rapid test result. We knew he was returning from the UK where the number of Omicron infections is very high, so we decided to do genome sequencing. Since September, the Vietnamese German Center for Medical Research has sequenced more than 1,000 samples using Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT) looking for the omicron variant. That’s our regular work, so it was simple for us to test the returnee from the UK.
Bao Tram: Were the genome sequencing results in this case the same as those recently reported in other places?
Ass. Prof. Le Huu Song: Our state-of-the-art technology for genome sequencing has detected a COVID-19 variant similar to 99.99% of the omicron variants that other places have reported.
Bao Tram: How is the patient doing?
Ass. Prof. Le Huu Song: The patient doesn’t have any symptoms at all. Since he arrived in Vietnam last Sunday (December 19), he has been completely healthy and doing normal activities. But in order to prevent any possible spread of the disease, he has been quarantined.
Bao Tram: What should people in Vietnam do about the omicron variant?
Ass. Prof. Le Huu Song: Although this is the first omicron variant case detected in Vietnam, it’s possible that there are other people in the community already infected with this variant. Statistics show that many people who contract the omicron variant have very mild or no clinical symptoms. So people should not be too worried. The appearance of the omicron variant today and other variants in the future is probably just the normal evolution of the virus. But the genetic variations of the SARS CoV2 virus seem to be just adapting to new conditions and no longer pose any additional danger to patients. And the human immune system will gradually adjust to the virus until it has become just another flu virus, which is what happened with the influenza virus 100 years ago in Spain. But people still need to comply with the recommendations of the Government and Health Ministry. That won’t change whether there is an omicron variant or not.
Thank you, Colonel, Associate Professor Dr. Le Huu Song, Director of the Vietnamese German Center for Medical Research and Deputy Director of the Central Military Hospital 108, for granting VOV this interview.