ECONOMYNEXT – A 55-sample sequencing test for the month of March has revealed seven cases of the UK strain of COVID-19, three cases of the Danish variant and two of the South African strain in Sri Lanka, an official said.
This is the first time the Danish strain, known as B.1.428, has been detected in Sri Lanka by the University of Sri Jayawardenapura which carries out monthly sequencing tests to detect any new variants that may have entered the country.
However, no major spreading of any of the foreign strains have occurred in the island so far, Dr Chandima Jeewandara, Director, Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the university, so far.
“The B .1.428 strain is found mainly in Denmark. We found it in Colombo but haven’t observed a major spread yet. We have informed the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC) who will take steps to contain it,” said Dr Jeewandara.
B.1.428 was first detected in Denmark in 2019 at the beginning of the pandemic and, according to Jeewandara, current COVID-19 vaccines are effective in immunising people against it.
“It is a normal variant now,” Jeewandara said.
In addition to the foreign strains, the March sequencing test also found 36 samples with the Sri Lankan strain B.1.411, he added. (Colombo/Apr09/2021)