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Authorities divided over A.30 variant threat

BY Dinitha Rathnayake

Contrary views have been expressed by the health authorities concerning the risk posed by the Covid-19 variant named “A.30”.

Sri Lanka need not be worried about the A.30 Covid-19 variant as it is rare and because the vaccines developed thus far against Covid-19 have proven to be effective against all related virus strains that have evolved, according to University of Sri Jayewardenepura Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit Director Dr. Chandima Jeewandara.

Speaking to The Morning, he noted that A.30 is a near-extinct variant which is not presently identified in the globe.

“This variant was detected months ago, probably in May and June, where only five cases were reported. Any vaccine developed to prevent Covid-19 is answerable for any variant that has spread around the world at the moment, and people therefore don’t have to worry about this A.30 variant,” he added.

However, Ministry of Health Communications Director and Deputy Director General of Public Health Services Dr. Hemantha Herath said that Sri Lanka is on high alert over the Covid-19 variant named A.30, adding that the Ministry of Health will take action regarding related awareness raising campaigns.

The Public Health Inspectors’ Union (PHIs’ Union) also said that there is a risk of this variant spreading since the public does not follow the health guidelines properly.

A team of scientists in Germany has recently warned that an old Covid-19 variant called A.30 has resistance to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines.

However, the variant has not been detected for months, with the last A.30 samples being reported between May and June of this year.

According to the Covid-19 variant tracking network GISAID, only five cases of A.30 have been reported worldwide – three in Angola, one in Sweden, and one in the UK.