WHO has already announced it as a variant of concern which has spread to around 60 countries
The genome centre of Jessore Science and Technology University (JSTU) has confirmed the presence of the Indian variant of coronavirus in three more samples from those who have been under quarantine after returning from India.
Professor Dr Iqbal Kabir Zahid, associate director of the centre, said the three samples were identified as B.1.617.2, the same variant they found earlier in two other samples. With the latest cases, the centre has so far detected the Indian variant in five samples.
In Bangladesh, the Indian variant has been detected in nine people till now. Four others were detected by the IEDCR.
The World Health Organization has already announced it as a variant of concern that has spread to around 60 countries.
It is a regular process to carry out rt-PCR tests on people who complete 14 days of quarantine and the genome sequencing is conducted if they test positive for the virus, said Prof Iqbal.
Among the latest three samples where the Indian variant was detected, two were collected from people staying in institutional quarantine in Jessore on May 13 and the other from Narail institutional quarantine centre on May 16.
“For 60 to 70 such genome sequences, one or two samples come out with the Indian variant,” he added.
Prof Iqbal, who is also chairman of the Department of Microbiology of JSTU, said among the three Indian variants, the double mutant variant B1.617 and its sub-group B.1.617.2 were more transmissible than many other variants.
“Those who are returning from India might carry the Indian variant, although the double mutant variant has not been detected [in Bangladesh] yet,” he added.
Dr Iqbal said there was no alternative to bringing all the people who had returned from India or had travelled to India recently under strict institutional quarantine. One reckless action could cost a lot.
Therefore, to stop the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19, such patients should not be released unless they tested negative.
He also advised that to have fewer infection risks the vaccination program should be completed quickly.
On Monday, the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) announced that the Indian variant had been found in six Covid-19 patients in Bangladesh.