Highly transmissible Covid variant detected in Sri Lanka

By Indika Sri Aravinda

A highly transmissible variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Sri Lanka, Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the Sri Jayewardenepura University, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said.

Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said that the new variant is similar to that which spread across Sweden, Germany, Denmark and Iceland.

Identified as Lineage B.1.258, the new variant is said to be highly transmissible, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara told reporters today.

Another variant first detected in the United Kingdom (UK) had also entered Sri Lanka this month.

The UK variant was found in a member of the England cricket team after he arrived in Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka had 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 had said earlier that lab testing had been done since March last year when the coronavirus pandemic began to spread in Sri Lanka.

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 had been increased. (Colombo Gazette)