New sub-lineage of COVID-19 Delta variant found in Sri Lanka

Representational image: IANS

Colombo: A new sub-lineage of COVID-19 Delta variant has been found in Sri Lanka, medical experts said on Friday.

Chandima Jeewandara, Director in the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, said that a new sub-lineage named B.1.617.2.104 has been found in the country, which is spreading in certain provinces.

"Sri Lanka now has another Delta sub-lineage. In addition to B.1.617.2.28 sub-lineage, another sub-lineage has been assigned as B.1.617.2.104" Jeewandara said in a Twitter message.

"Therefore, the Delta variants in Sri Lanka now have two unique sub-lineages that originated in Sri Lanka - AY.28 and AY.104," the medical expert stated.

According to Jeewandara, there are three SARS-CoV-2 variants that originated in Sri Lanka.

"The first one was B.411, which is a lineage of the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 virus," he said.

The medical expert also warned that the new variant is spreading in the North, North Central and Southern provinces. The samples are to be sent to Hong Kong to examine the transmissibility of the variant, he said.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella on Friday cautioned people, saying that having vaccinated 75 per cent of the population with both doses, and the booster shot being administered to those above 60 years of age, the rest is up to the public.

"The government has done everything it can to contain the COVID-19 epidemic," said the Minister, adding that there has to be some sacrifices from the side of the people too.

The island nation on Wednesday started to administer a booster vaccine with the Pfizer-BioNTech to those above 60 years and as of Friday, over 160,000 Sri Lankan elders received their third jab.

On Friday, Sri Lanka reported 745 new COVID cases and 14 deaths, taking the overall death toll to 14,086.

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