Delta strain of coronavirus found in most samples tested mid-May: IEDCR

The highly contagious variant of the coronavirus has also been detected in Dhaka.

Having reviewed the history of the victims, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control Research or IEDCR believes that there has already been community transmission of the Delta variant in Bangladesh.

Apart from detecting the strain in two samples of Dhaka residents, seven other samples of people who travelled from Chanpainawabganj to Nawabganj Upazila were also a match.

The original variant now dominant 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, appears to be spreading more quickly than two other identified subtypes of the variant.

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 IEDCR along with the Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives (Ideshi) have conducted genome sequencing on 50 coronavirus samples since the first cases of the strain dominant in India were discovered on May 16.

However, the IEDCR said 35 percent of those found carrying the strain did not have any history of travelling outside Bangladesh or coming into contact with people from abroad, attributing the presence of the coronavirus variant in the country to community transmission.

Of these, 40 were of Indian origin and eight were of the type first found in South Africa.

Meanwhile, three Bangladeshi nationals who recently returned from India are being treated for the coronavirus in Khulna and Chuadanga. Their samples also contained the variant which was first prevalent in India.

COVID-19 cases in the districts of Rajshahi and Khulna, bordering India, have been increasing at an alarming rate over the last few days.

The IEDCR has urged the public to follow the health and hygiene rules to prevent any further spread of this variant.

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