Delta variant accounts for 98pc of COVID cases in Bangladesh

Thursday, 5 August 2021

About 98 per cent of COVID-19 patients across Bangladesh in July have contracted the Delta variant of the pathogen, according to a study conducted by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

The BSMMU researchers found the variant after analysing the genome sequence of samples collected from 300 COVID patients in July, Sharfuddin Ahmed, vice chancellor of the university, said on Thursday while sharing the research report.

Only 1 percent was caused by the Beta variant, first found in South Africa, according to the research conducted from Jun 29 to Jul 30.

Like any other virus, the coronavirus is mutating. The Delta variant, first detected in India, is highly contagious and has spread across the globe.

“We found one patient with the Mauritius variant or Nigerian variant [which is still under research],” Ahmed said.

They have studied representative samples from all divisions to analyse the information, according to researchers. The genome sequencing was done through the next-generation sequencing system after collecting the nasopharyngeal swabs from 300 patients who tested positive for the COVID-19.

At least 53 per cent of the study participants were male, aged between 9 months and 90 years, with the majority of them in their 30s, the vice-chancellor said.

“As no age group is found to be immune to COVID-19, we can’t say that children are not vulnerable.”

The death rate is high among the patients with comorbidities, such as respiratory distress, diabetes or cancer, the study showed.

The study, which is still ongoing, will look into the efficacy of the vaccine, Ahmed said.

In December 2020, most of the COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh were caused by the Alpha variant which was first found in the UK. Later, information collected in March 2021 showed the high prevalence of Beta variant which was initially identified in South Africa, he said citing the study report.

Prof Laila Anjuman Banu of BSMMU led the research helped by Prof Saidur Rahman and Pro-VC Prof AKM Mosharraf Hossain as members of the team, as per a bdnews24.com report.

The research aimed at finding the genome character, a way of mutation of the COVID-19 virus and finding an interrelation with the global COVID-19 virus.

The result from the first month of the study has been published and it will be updated in the following months.