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IEDCR confirms community transmission of Indian Covid-19 variant

  • Published at 10:42 pm June 4th, 2021
DNCC Covid hospital
A Covid-19 patient with a low oxygen saturation level being taken to the emergency unit of the newly inaugurated DNCC Covid-19 hospital in Mohakhali, Dhaka, Tuesday, April 20, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Genomic sequence of 80% of the samples tested in mid-May have matched the variant

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has found evidence of community transmission of the Indian variant, lately named as Delta variant by World Health Organization (WHO), in the country.

The IEDCR along with an NGO foundation and Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives (ideSHi) conducted genome sequencing of 50 samples collected from Covid patients after May 16.

Of the 50 samples, 80% of them (40 samples) were carrying Indian variant while 16% of them were carrying Beta or South African variant, says the government’s disease control agency.

Only the sub-group (B.1.617.2) of the Indian double mutant variant is detected in the country. 

Also Read - Covid-19: Bangladesh detects 13 more Indian variant cases

On May 16, the IEDCR said it has identified six cases where the Covid patients were carrying the variants. With the latest detection the number stands at 46. The agency first identified the variant in the country on May 8.  

Out of 16 samples collected from Chapainawabganj, 15 were Indian variant, and all seven samples from Gopalganj were found to be the same variant, according to IEDCR.

All three samples collected from Khulna and two out of four samples collected from Dhaka were carrying the variant.

People from all age groups found to be infected with the Indian variant.

Local transmission of the variant

Of the Delta variant infected patients, eight had a history of visiting India while 18 patients came into contact with people who visited the neighbouring country recently.

However, the remaining 14 neither have a record of visiting India nor they were exposed to anyone who had recently gone to India.  

“This raises concern. It’s evident that a local transmission has already taken place,” said IEDCR Director Prof Tahmina Shirin.     

According to her, the Indian variant is spreading in the community. “There is no alternative to following health rules to be safe and help reduce the transmission,” added Prof Shirin.

Unidentified variant detected

The research also found an unidentified variant, according to IEDCR Director Shirin, who said they were investigating it.

However, this is not the first time the variant has been identified in the country.

According to outbreak.info, a website that used GISAID data to track variants and mutations, 16 out of 1,605 genome sequences (till May 22) carried the particular variant.

Also Read - WHO: Only one Covid variant detected in India is now of Concern

Public Health England (PHE) said that the variant B.1.1.318, which is mentioned as the unidentified variant by the IEDCR, was first identified on February 15 and it was understood to have originated in the United Kingdom, Reuters reported.

They have categorized it as a variant under Investigation till now, said the latest technical briefing of SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern and variants under investigation in England.

The death toll from Covid-19 rose by 34 in a 24-hour count to 12,758, according to the latest government data released on Friday.

The country’s coronavirus caseload has jumped by 1,887 in a day to 807,867.

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