According to the latest SARS-CoV-2 variant report issued by the Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, 82 new cases of Omicron and 6 new cases of Delta were detected from 88 samples.
“These 88 samples were sequenced from the 4th week of January from the community.” said Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, Director of the Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the Faculty of Medicine.
The 88 Omicron cases include a mix of the two main Omicron lineages BA.1 and BA.2.
Omicron sublineages were detected in the following locations. 30 cases of BA.1 were detected in Colombo Municipal Council, Colombo, NIMH, Kesbewa and Mathugama. 22 cases of BA.1.1 were detected in CMC, Colombo, Kesbewa and Mathugama. 28 cases of BA.2 were detected in CMC and Colombo. 2 cases of B.1.1.529 were detected in Colombo.
Different Delta sublineages were detected in the following locations. 4 cases of AY.104 (Sri Lanka delta sub-lineage) were detected in Horona, Mathugama, Pandura and NIMH. 1 case of AY.95 (Sri Lanka delta sub-lineage) was detected in Horana. 1 case of B.1.617.2 was detected in NIMH.
Currently 25% of the sequences of Sri Lanka are BA.2, which was named as a variant of interest by the UK Health security agency. COVID-19 variants identified in the UK – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Early analysis has suggested BA.2 has a higher growth rate than BA.1 and therefore, more transmissible than BA.1. However, early data shows that immune evasion is less with BA.2 than with BA.1.
Other variants identified within Sri Lanka:B.1.411: Sri Lankan variant, B.1.1.25, B.1.258, B.1.428, B.4, B.4.7, B.1.1.365, B.1.525, B.1, B.1.1.
The timeline of the emergence and displacement of different variants in Sri Lanka is as follows. (Colombo Gazette)