New Covid-19 variant found in Bangladesh: BCSIR

Bangladesh has found existence of a new coronavirus variant nearly similar to that of the United Kingdom, the genomic research laboratory of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) said.

BCSIR Principal Scientific Officer Dr Md Salim on Thursday told media, ‪“When we carried out genome sequencing on samples early November this year, then we understood that the new variant we found was nearly similar to the variant found in the UK and Peru”.

“However, we are not sure where the present mutation of the virus in Bangladesh is as infectious at the UK variant. Only after completing the genome sequencing at our lab, we will understand the transmissibility of the newly-mutated virus,” he added.

According to the IEDCR, travellers from the UK have been a major source of virus transmission to Bangladesh.

According to the World Health Organization, the UK strain has also been detected in small numbers in Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands. Another variant with similar genetic mutations has been linked to widespread transmission in South Africa.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday said that all possible measures were being taken so that the new variant of coronavirus did not enter the country.

DGHS Assistant Director Dr Shahriar Sazzad told media that authorities at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) on Tuesday night received directives over the measures to be taken and had already begun the procedure.