The Indonesian Doctors Association (IDI) appealed to the public to be aware of the mutation of the coronavirus, namely the N439K variant which has now been found in more than 30 countries. IDI says this variant is ‘smarter’ than other coronavirus variants.
“This N439K variant which has been (found) in more than 30 countries is actually ‘smarter’ than previous variants, because the binding to the ACE2 receptor in human cells is stronger and is not recognized by polyclonal antibodies formed from the immunity of people who have been infected,” said the Chair of IDI Daeng M. Faqih through a written statement.
Daeng highlighted the transmission of the virus that can occur through aerosols, making it difficult to control for asymptomatic or people with no visible symptoms.
Referring to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) appeal, Daeng said aerosol transmission means that a virus carrier can transmit the virus by simply breathing or talking.
In cases of the spread of SARS-CoV-2, he continued, an average of 57% of transmission occurred via inhalation (microdroplets), 35% of transmission occurred through droplets (coughing, sneezing, breathing and speaking), and 8.2% due to contact.
Daeng explained that transmission can occur from droplets less than 0.8 – 10 microns in size that can stay in the air for up to one to three hours. The size of the most common inhaled viral aerosols are around 0.5 to 5 microns.
This potential indicates the risk of transmission occurring in closed rooms with circulating air or using air conditioning. In a room with poor air circulation and lack of ultraviolet light, the virus can last up to three hours indoors.
The danger of transmission, continued Daeng, can be avoided by wearing a mask. He said masks could protect up to 90% of transmission of the virus. According to Daeng, efforts to protect oneself can also be encouraged by keeping in shape.
“The ability to form antibodies also turns out to be individual, both post-infection and post-immunization. So in addition to Covid-19 vaccination, adherence to health protocols and efforts to reduce viral load are needed to end the pandemic,” added Daeng.
Previously, the government had found cases of mutation of the SARs-CoV-2 B117 virus that were spread across a number of provinces. Some of the samples were found in the greater Jakarta area, North Sumatra, South Kalimantan and South Sumatra.