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Omicron sub-variant detected in Bangladesh: Researchers

Disease 2022-06-21, 10:48pm


Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Dhaka, June 21 — Two Bangladeshis have been infected with a new sub-variant of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, said Jashore University of Science and Technology (JUST) researchers on Tuesday.

A team of researchers at JUST Genome Center detected the sub-variant named BA.4/5 through a partial (spike protein) genome sequence of the virus collected from two infected people in Jashore, said a press release signed by Md Abdur Rashid, assistant director (Public relations) of JUST.

According to the research team, the two patients were men, aged 44 and 79 years old. One infected person received a booster dose against Covid while another vaccinated with two doses.

One of the infected is undergoing treatment at the hospital and the other is at home. They have some mild symptoms including fever, sore throat and cough.

Researchers believe that both of them have been infected locally.

The research team further said that this new sub-variant has a mutation similar to Omicron in the spike protein.

This sub-variant was detected in southern India in late May. This is responsible for the fifth wave of Covid infection in South Africa and the recent third wave in India, believes the scientists.

People who have been vaccinated are also being infected by this sub-variant. In the future, this sub-variant may cause more infections than any other sub-variant, they said.

JUST vice chancellor and director of the genome center Dr Md Anwar Hossain said this sub-variant is able to evade the human immune system easily. There is no substitute for strict adherence to health protocols, including wearing masks.  

“It will be possible to know more by sequencing the complete genome of this sub-variant soon,” he added.

This new sub-variant was detected under the leadership of Iqbal Kabir, chairman of the Department of Microbiology and associate director of the Genome Center. - UNB