The Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Variant(s) and Its Impact on the Prevalence of COVID-19 Cases in the Nabatieh Region, Lebanon

Noureddine, Fatima Y. and Chakkour, Mohamed and El Roz, Ali and Reda, Jana and Al Sahily, Reem and Assi, Ali and Joma, Mohamed and Salami, Hassan and Hashem, Sadek J. and Harb, Batoul and Salami, Ali and Ghssein, Ghassan (2021) The Emergence of SARS-CoV-2 Variant(s) and Its Impact on the Prevalence of COVID-19 Cases in the Nabatieh Region, Lebanon. Medical Sciences, 9 (2). p. 40. ISSN 2076-3271

[thumbnail of medsci-09-00040.pdf] Text
medsci-09-00040.pdf - Published Version

Download (1MB)


Background: An outbreak of an unknown respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, emerged in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province, China, in December 2019 and was referred to as coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). Soon after, it was declared as a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020. SARS-CoV-2 mainly infects the respiratory tract with different outcomes ranging from asymptomatic infection to severe critical illness leading to death. Different SARS-CoV-2 variants are emerging of which three have raised concerns worldwide due to their high transmissibility among populations. Objective: To study the prevalence of COVID-19 in the region of Nabatieh-South Lebanon during the past year and assess the presence of SARS-CoV-2 variants and their effect on the spread of infection during times of lockdown. Methods: In our study, 37,474 nasopharyngeal swab samples were collected and analyzed for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 virus in suspected patients attending a tertiary health care center in South Lebanon during the period between 16 March 2020 and 21 February 2021. Results: The results demonstrated a variation in the prevalence rates ranging from less than 1% during full lockdown of the country to 8.4% upon easing lockdown restrictions and reaching 27.5% after the holidays and 2021 New Year celebrations. Interestingly, a new variant(s) appeared starting January 2021 with a significant positive association between the prevalence of positive tests and the percentage of the variant(s). Conclusions: Our results indicate that the lockdown implemented by the Lebanese officials was an effective intervention to contain COVID-19 spread. Our study also showed that lifting lockdown measures during the holidays, which allowed indoor crowded gatherings to occur, caused a surge in COVID-19 cases and rise in the mortality rates nationwide. More importantly, we confirmed the presence of a highly transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variant(s) circulating in the Lebanese community from at least January 2021 onwards.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Asian Repository > General Subject > Medical Science
0 Subject > Medical Science
Depositing User: Managing Editor
Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2023 04:23
Last Modified: 29 Mar 2023 04:23

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item