Covid-19 variant: Six variants identified in SL
Includes Indian, UK, South African, SL strains
Indian one from a returnee; Patient undergoing private treatment
By Maheesha Mudugamuwa
A total of six active Covid-19 variants including the new and contagious Indian variant of B.1.617 have been identified by the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.
In a letter signed by two academics attached to the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Prof. Neelika Malavige and Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, it is stated that the six variants have been found in samples sent to them as of 30 April.
Accordingly, the Indian variant of B.1.617 has been detected in a person who recently returned from India and was in a quarantine centre for returnees in Colombo. The said patient identified with the Indian Covid-19 variant is currently being treated at a private hospital.
Speaking to The Sunday Morning, the Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura Dr. Jeewandara said that the Indian variant was identified only in one sample that they had tested from among the samples they had received up to 30 April.
He said that his department has so far identified 65 patients with the UK/Kent variant (B.1.1.7) and one with the South African variant (from a returnee).
The B.1.1.7 UK/Kent variant has been detected in samples collected from Colombo, Kurunegala, Kalutara, Kandy, Polonnaruwa, and Mannar while the B. 1.428 Denmark/European/Middle-East variant has been identified from Jaffna, especially from the Nallur cluster. The Sri Lankan variant of B.1.411 has been found from Batticaloa and Colombo while the B.1.525 Nigerian variant has been found in Bandaragama and Colombo, according to the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.