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‘Three Omicron subtypes doing the rounds in capital’

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 25 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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‘Three Omicron subtypes doing the rounds in capital’

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At least three different subtypes of highly contagious coronavirus Omicron variant, which has fuelled the current surge in virus cases across the world, are circulating in Dhaka city, according to a study of International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b).

“During the first two weeks of January 2022, Omicron was identified in 260 (69 percent) out of 379 positive Covid-19 cases from samples collected from Dhaka city and tested at the icddr,b lab,” icddr,b said in a statement on Monday.

The Omicron variant was first detected in Bangladesh on December 6, 2021. The initial two Omicron cases were actually carried by two passengers who had returned from Africa.

In December, Omicron was detected in five out of total 77 Covid-19 positive   cases detected after tests at the icddr,b lab while the rest were of Delta variant.

During the first two weeks of this January, Omicron was identified in 260 (69pc) out of 379 positive cases.

The analysis of the complete genomic sequencing suggests that at least three different subtypes of the virus variant are present in Dhaka.

Omicron is the latest edition and has already spread to over 100 countries, including Bangladesh. This variant is considered to have increased transmissibility and harbour new genetic changes, which may impact clinical manifestation and vaccine effectiveness.

As part of the countrywide Covid-19 laboratory network, the Virology Laboratory of icddr,b has been testing Covid-19 since March 2020 and monitoring SARS-CoV-2 variants since December 2020.

Between January 1, 2021 and January 14, 2022, a total of 63,922 samples collected from Covid-19 suspects attending different collection booths across Dhaka city were sent to the icddr,b Virology Laboratory as part of the national Covid-19 testing system.  The specimens were tested every day for the SARS-CoV-2 RNA using real-time PCR. Overall, 13,413 (21pc) specimens were Covid-19 positive.

The Alpha variant was first identified in January 2021 and persisted till March 2021. The Beta variant was first detected in March 2021 and replaced almost all other variants by May 2021.