Tests to be performed in a week | Sunday Observer
New UK strain virus in Sri Lanka

Tests to be performed in a week

14 February, 2021

The health authorities will perform another genome sequencing in a week to test the severity of the highly contagious coronavirus variant that was detected in the country recently.

The new variant identified as the UK Strain was found in 12 out of 92 persons when a sequencing was conducted on samples collected in January this year.

Director of Immunology and Molecular Medicine Dr. Chandima Jeewandara of the Sri Jayewardenapura University told the Sunday Observer that the patients were from areas including Avissawella, Colombo, Biyagama and Vavuniya. “We will know the severity of the strain when we conduct the next sequencing,” he said adding that variant of B.1.1.7 lineage, is highly contagious but there is no data to say that it is fatal in nature or that it undermines the effectiveness of the vaccines.

“We are now collecting demographic data of the patients such as age and if they were in contact with a person who came from another country to see how it is spread here,” Dr. Jeewandara said.

He added that most of the patients with the new variant could have completed their quarantine period and returned to their homes.

Foreign media reported that the new UK variant is of concern as it could affect the protection of vaccines. Head of UK’s genetic surveillance program was quoted as saying that the variant is likely “to sweep the world, in all probability”.

Sri Lanka has reported over 380 Covid-19 related deaths and over 74,000 cases with a spike in new cases as the country continues its vaccination program that commenced on January 29 this year on receiving a donation of vaccines from India.

According to data from the Epidemiology Unit of the Ministry of Health as of February 12, 179,197 people were given the first dose of vaccines.