Indian corona variant found in Bangladesh

Staff Correspondent

9 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

A highly contagious Indian coronavirus variant, which might be linked to the deadly 2nd wave in the neighbouring country, has been detected in Bangladesh, raising concerns among all.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed the matter on Saturday.

The Indian strain of the virus has been found in a sample tested at Evercare Hospital Dhaka and it has been published in Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), said IEDCR Principal Scientific Officer Dr ASM Alamgir.

Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam also told the media that the Indian variant of coronavirus has been found in Bangladesh. “The infected patients returned from India. They had been there for treatment and now they’re staying in Jashore,” he said.

According to the GISAID, "double mutant" or B.1.617 variant was detected in two people who are males. One of them is aged 41 and the other 23.

Both of them were infected while visiting India. Samples were collected from them on April 28 and April 29.

The samples were analysed at the Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives (ideSHi) to learn about genomic sequencing.

This Indian variant was first detected in Indian state of Maharashtra on October 5 last year.

That version has now been re-characterised as three different subtypes, all with slightly different genetic mutations. Amid the fresh surge of the virus in Bangladesh, the government closed the borders with India to stop the spread of the deadly pathogen in the country.

The World Health Organization earlier listed the South African, UK and Brazilian strains as ‘Variants of Concern’.

Though, the new variant has been causing massive problems in India, WHO has not found the virus as deadlier than the others detected earlier.

Samples containing the B.1.617 variant have been found in several states with high case numbers.

Out of roughly 13,000 samples sequenced, more than 3,500 were found to be variants of concern - including B.1.617 - across eight states.

The B.1.617 variant was reported in several states reporting surges including Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh.

The current surge of the virus has already overwhelmed the healthcare system in India with hospital beds, oxygen and even crematorium space in short supply, reports BBC.

India recorded over 4 lakh new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours ending 8:00am on Saturday, taking the country’s total caseload to over 2.18 crore.

Currently, over 37 lakh cases are active while over 1.79 crore people have recovered.

With 4,187 new deaths, the toll now stands at over 2.38 lakh.

At least 14 states are reporting cases in five figures. Maharashtra reported about 54,000 cases while Karnataka nearly 49,000 and Kerala over 38,000.

Bangladesh reported its first three coronavirus cases on March 8 last year and the first virus-related death 10 days later.

Both infections and deaths from coronavirus started to decline from the first week of July last year and the fall continued till the first week of March this year.

However, the numbers started rising further from March 10. Highest 7,626 cases were reported on April 7 and record 112 deaths were registered on April 19.

Following a fresh surge in both infections and deaths from the deadly pathogen, the government enforced a lockdown which has been extended until May 16.

Bangladesh is witnessing a gradual fall in both infections and deaths from coronavirus over the last few weeks.

In the last 24 hours till Saturday morning, the country registered 45 deaths and 1,285 infections from the virus.