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Delta variant dominant, with 68% participants affected in small Dhaka study 

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-06-17 21:56:53 BdST

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Genome sequencing of samples from COVID-19 patients has found the highly infectious Delta variant among 68 percent of the participants of a study.  

The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh or icddr,b conducted the study on 60 patients in late May and the first week of June, said its spokesman AKM Tariful Islam Khan.

Dr Mushtuq Husain, a former chief scientific officer at government’s disease control agency IEDCR, said the institute had earlier found 40 Delta variants in 50 patients.

“It was to happen,” he said on Tuesday about the new findings. “The detection of Delta strain among 68 percent patients means the variant is dominant now.”

Dr Mushtuq added: “It of course poses risks because the variant spreads fast. The infected patients also need longer hospital care.”

“No matter what the variant is, following health rules is the only way to prevent coronavirus infection.”

The original Delta variant, first identified in India, is officially known as B.1.617. It has three subtypes -- all with slightly different genetic mutations.

B.1.617.2, which was found in Bangladesh’s border districts and later other parts, appears to be spreading more quickly than two other identified subtypes of the strain.

Viruses mutate all the time, producing different versions of themselves. Most of these mutations are insignificant -- and some may even make the virus less dangerous, but others can make it more contagious and harder to vaccinate against.

The World Health Organization on May 11 classified the coronavirus variant B.1.617 as a variant of global concern, saying there was some available information to suggest it has an increased transmissibility.

The B.1.617 variant is the fourth strain to be designated as being of global concern and requiring heightened tracking and analysis. The others are those first detected in Britain, South Africa and Brazil.