COVID-19 Alpha variant detected in several areas
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The Alpha variant of COVID-19, which originated from the United Kingdom, was detected in 80 samples the University of Sri Jayewardenepura had received for sequencing from several parts of Sri Lanka. Sequencing reports on 9 June 2021 had shown the predominance of the B.1.1.7 Alpha variant of COVID-19, Director of the Allergy, Immunity and Cell Biology Unit at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said.
The B.1.1.7 Alpha variant had been identified from samples they had received from Colombo, Ragama, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kuliyapitiya, Wariyapola, Habaraduwa Matara, Tissamaharama, Karapitiya and Kandy.
Also, the B.1.1.7 (UK/Alpha variant) was detected in healthcare workers from the National Hospital Sri Lanka who had been fully vaccinated, but had contracted the virus two weeks after the second dose of Covishield jab. He said they had recovered fully. In addition, the B.1.617.2, the Delta variant first detected in India had been identified from a quarantine facility, in Wadduwa.
Also B.1.411, with Sri Lankan lineage was identified in one sample the team had received from Tissamaharama, he said. The Delta COVID-19 variant, which originated from India, was detected in early May 2021, also from a quarantine centre.
The Director of Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, said the Indian Delta; B.1.617 variant had been detected from a repatriate who was diagnosed with the virus while in quarantine. He said the variant had been identified as a variant of concern (VOC) on 6 May 2021.