None of them are double mutants
Bangladesh has ascertained the presence of five Covid 19 variants in the country since November last year, with the Indian variant (B.1.617.2) being the latest.
The rest of the variants identified in the country are the UK (B.1.1.7), South Africa (B.1.351), Nigeria (B.1.525) and Brazilian (P1) variants of the coronavirus.
The authorities detected the UK variant in January, but confirmed the detection in March. Confirmation regarding three other variants came by late April.
Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin, Director, Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said till date the institute had found the Indian variant (B.1.617.2) in six samples collected from April 27 to 30.
“Several more samples are being sequenced right now and the situation will be known soon. However, none of the variants identified is double mutant,” she added.
The variant (B.1.617.2) actually is one of the three sub groups-- identified as yet-- of the Indian variant (B.1.617).
Among the six genomes sequenced, five have been submitted to GISAID, a global science initiative providing open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, the IEDCR on Sunday said after sequencing 200 samples, it had found the presence of four variants in them. According to outbreak.info, a Covid variant-tracking website based on GISAID, the first variant was identified from a sample taken on April 27.
Some 1,466 genome sequences have been submitted to the website.
The variant-tracking site Outbreak.info said during the completion of genome sequences of the samples collected since the variant was first detected in the country, 38% of them were found to be South Asian variants.
Around 14% of them are the UK variant, it said, adding that the accurate ratio of the Indian variant had not been estimated yet.
Outbreak.info says that the prevalence of the UK variant is higher in Sylhet as 19 of the genome sequences were spotted there. However, some 40 samples among 809 samples collected in Dhaka were found to carry the variant.
Eight out of 189 samples in Chittagong have UK variants.
The South African variant has been identified in at least 10 districts in the country, while Dhaka has the largest share of the identification with 215 cases out of 809 genome sequences.
Sources at the IEDCR on Sunday said Nigerian variants had been found in the samples collected from two divisions.
Analyses of all the samples sequenced found that some 37% of these variants had S:E484K mutation said to be more infectious and deadly for patients.
However, the health authorities said it was a relief for Bangladesh that the Indian variant found in the country did not have the mutation.
But it exists in the South African, Nigerian and Brazilian variants.
The Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) on April 20 uploaded the only Brazilian variant genome sequence (P1) that was collected from a sample received from a female patient in the capital on February 18, according to the GISAID website.