China, Russia vaccine roll out begins | Sunday Observer
Indian, S. African variant in Sri Lanka

China, Russia vaccine roll out begins

10 May, 2021

As Sri Lanka began rolling out Russia’s Sputnik V and Chinese made Sinopharn Covid-19 vaccines last week local scientists said yesterday that the deadlier Indian variant and highly resistant South African variant have been detected in the country.

The Epidemiology unit began rolling out the Synopharm vaccine yesterday in Panadura after the World Health Organization (WHO) approved its emergency use in response to the global spike in cases and production failures of the Astrazeneca vaccine in India.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa also had a telephone conversation with the WHO Director General-Tedros Adhanom on Friday to seek his intervention to acquire 600,000 doses of the Astrazenecca vaccine.

The discussions also centred around granting WHO approval for the Synopharm since Sri Lanka was waiting to use the consignment of the Chinese-made vaccine received as a grant in late March

The vaccine received the approval of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) yesterday. The Russian Sputnik V vaccine roll out began on Thursday. State Minister Channa Jayasumana said 6.5 million doses of the Sputnik V vaccine will be received before the end of this year.

The Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the Sri Jayewardenepura University’s Medical Faculty which conducts genetic sequencing for the virus said that two new strains were detected among two foreign returnees at a quarantine facility in Colombo.

Director AICBU, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara told the Sunday Observer yesterday that his unit has found six variants of the virus among the samples collected between the end of March to April 30.

The variants found in the lab samples are the UK variant/Kent variant (B.1.1.7), Denmark/European/Middle East variant (B.1.428), Sri Lankan variant (B.1.411), Nigerian Variant (B.1.525), Indian variant B.1.617 and the South African variant (B.1.351).

The UK variant was found in Colombo, Kurunegala, Kalutara, Kandy, Polonnaruwa and the Mannar districts while the Indian and South African variants were found in Colombo among two foreign returnees at the same quarantine centre.