New UK Covid-19 variant detected from four areas in Sri Lanka

The new SARS-CoV-2 variant, which belongs to the B.1.1.7 lineage and now dominant in the United Kingdom, has been identified in Covid-19 positive samples received from four areas across the country.

The samples were received from Colombo, Avissawella, Biyagama, and Vavuniya areas, says Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of Sri Jayewardenepura University, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara.

According to him, this Covid-19 variant, also known as VOC 202012/01, has higher transmissibility.

The United Kingdom first reported the new SARS-CoV-2 variant of concern (VOC) to the World Health Organization in December last year.

By mid-January, 50 countries had identified the more contagious B.1.1.7 variant in Covid-19 positive cases.

The developers of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, however, stated that their jabs give people good protection against the new coronavirus variant. They had found similar efficacy against the B.1.1.7 variant to the original virus, based on swabs from volunteers.

Last month, Sri Lanka identified a special mutation (N439K) of SARS-CoV-2, which showed similar characteristics to a strain spreading in England, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark and Iceland. It was of B1258 lineage.

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