By Sunil Jayasiri
A new variant of the COVID-19 virus, similar to that spreading rapidly in several countries including the United Kingdom, has been detected in Sri Lanka, Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of Sri Jayewardenepura University, Dr. Chandima Jeewandara said.
“This new variant (B.1.258 lineage) is different from the strain previously found in Sri Lanka and is also different from the strain found in the United Kingdom and South Africa,” Dr. Jeewandara told the media yesterday.
“The new variant found in Sri Lanka is also highly transmissible,” he said.
He said they had detected this after examining samples taken from those who arrived from overseas as well as local patients during the past two weeks.
He also said that the result of the study also revealed that one of the lineages is a 100% Sri Lankan variety.
Explaining further about the highly transmissible variant, he said that they have already alerted the Health Ministry and steps had already been taken to prevent the spread of the new variant.
“The public need not panic as steps have been already taken to curb the spreading ,” Dr. Jeewandara said adding that “the new variant would not affect the vaccine immunity.”
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