Sri Lanka intensifies lab testing to detect new variant

By Easwaran Rutnam 

Sri Lanka has intensified lab testing of the coronavirus in order to detect the new variant or any other variant that may enter the country.

Professor Neelika Malavige from the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Sri Jayewardenepura said that lab testing had been done since March when the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in Sri Lanka, Daily Mirror reported.

She said that testing was done once a month to detect if the virus was mutating and if a new variant was in Sri Lanka.

Professor Neelika Malavige said that with a new variant being detected in the UK and South Africa and with the latest developments in Sri Lanka, the frequency of lab testing has been increased.

She said that with tourists now arriving in Sri Lanka and airports expected to be fully operational soon, a decision has been taken to increase the frequency of lab testing.

“We have decided to increase the frequency of lab testing to every two weeks or even once a week,” she said at a media briefing yesterday (Friday).

Professor Neelika Malavige said that the World Health Organization is providing assistance to the university for the lab testing.

She also noted that while variants have been detected in the UK and South Africa more mutations of the coronavirus can be expected.

“We may even see a Sri Lankan variant,’ she added.

Professor Neelika Malavige also said that Covid vaccines now being tested or approved can be modified to deal with the new variants. (Colombo Gazette)

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