Dr Shari Ramsaran

With the rapid increase in COVID cases across the country, one private lab has said it will not be surprised if more people are being infected by variants of the virus.

Deputy Director of the St Augustine Medical Laboratory (STAML), Dr Shari Ramsaran made the comment during an interview with Guardian Media yesterday.

“We should be concerned, and I am concerned about the variants in the country but, I am more concerned about the number of positive COVID-19 cases on the whole,” Ramsaran said.

She said the lab has been receiving hundreds of samples on a daily basis with about 15 per cent usually being confirmed as positive cases.

As of this week, the St Augustine Medical Lab has been screening positive COVID samples to identify variant strain of the virus.

“In the past 24hrs, we’ve seen six positive patients with the Brazilian variant,” Ramsaran said.

Each report, Ramsaran explained is verified with the assistance of a lab in China and then reported to the local Ministry of Health. The only variant the lab will not be able to identify just yet is the Delta variant which originates from India.

According to her, “Do I expect to see the same sort of trend or even the numbers go up? Absolutely! If we continue at this rate, and if the population still thinks part of this is a joke.”

Meanwhile, Ramsaran stated that there is no need for citizens to be alarmed by the recent announcement by the Chief Medical Officer that someone had a clotting reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

“The patient that was referred to that did have a confirmed reaction to the AstraZeneca vaccine is a patient that underwent PF-4 Antibody testing here at St Augustine Medical,” Ramsaran said.

She added: “It was a patient who was experiencing a couple of symptoms like swelling in the leg, pains in the leg and it was between a 5-to-30-day period after taking the vaccine”.

“A lot of people may know by now is something called Vaccine Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia—it’s a very big word—basically what it means is that your own body produces an antibody to a platelet factor complex that is already found in your platelets,” she explained.

“And that comes not only from taking the vaccine but also from taking a drug like Keppra,so this patient was that unfortunate patient,” she further stated.

Guardian Media understands that the patient is stable and has been responding well to treatment.

Ramsaran noted that the chances of this happening to another patient are very slim. She indicated there are many more complications that could arise from contracting COVID-19 and urged citizens to get whatever vaccine they’re able to…. The lab has now joined other businesses in offering discounts to customers who have been administered a COVID jab.