Saturday, October 31, 2020

Coronavirus spread in Sri Lanka now identified as SARS-CoV2 B.1.42

A research team led by Prof. Neelika Malavige of Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences of Sri Jayawardanepura University has reported to the Ministry of Health that the type of coronavirus spreading in the second wave of COVID-19 in Sri Lanka is different from the virus spread in the first wave in the country.

A team led by the same professor identified the type A virus in Sri Lanka through research carried out in April 2020. 

The SARS-CoV2 virus is categorised into three types as A, B and C. Type A is common in the US and Australia. Type B spread mostly in Wuhan, China and Type C spread mostly in Europe. 

The virus spread in the second wave has been identified as B.1.42. Secretary to the Ministry of Health Major General Sanjiva Munasinghe said to media that the virus is different from the Kandakadu cluster which comprised of other variants of the type B virus. The SARS-CoV2  B.1.42 virus is spreading faster than the previous types, the official said. 

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi said to media that the research commissioned by the Ministry of Health has identified that the virus spread throughout the country is different from the previous type. However, the virus found in various parts of the island is the same. 

Update: Dr. Chandima Jeewandara of the research team said to media that 16 samples from various geographical areas were tested and 13 of them were accurately sequenced. "Accordingly, it was observed that the type of virus traced was the same. Various types of SARS-Cov2 viruses were discovered in Sri Lanka since March up to now. The presently spreading virus is similar to the type of virus identified in Denmark and Sweden. This is the first time it was recorded in Sri Lanka. The viral load is high and spreads fast. However, we have no knowledge about the death rate of the infection", Dr. Jeewandara said.  

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