The genotyping of 163 positive samples of Covid-19 has found 65 delta-Indian variants, representing 69 percent of total samples tested, which requires the immediate action of the concerned authority to prevent the possible spread of the fatal delta variant in Karachi.
The National Institute of Virology (NIV) at the Dr. Panjwani Center for Molecular Medicine and Drug Research (PCMD), University of Karachi, has processed a total of 2062 samples received from the Sindh Health Department in two days, from July 12 to 13, 2021. Out of these samples, a total of 163 were found positive, which shows the seriousness of the prevailing situation in the metropolis.
Prof. Dr. M. Iqbal Choudhary, the Director of the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi, and COMSTECH Coordinator General disclosed this while presiding over a meeting held at the PCMD on Thursday.
The results of the genotyping, conducted at the National Institute of Virology, show that out of the total positive cases there are 65 delta-Indian variants, two South African variants, 25 unidentified variants, and two wild type variants, he said.
Prof. Choudhary pointed out that the unidentified variants which were 25 in numbers may be delta plus variant or a new variant.
“The presence of SARS-CoV-2 delta variant has already been confirmed in the Sindh province and its local transmission is evident from the recently identified cluster,” he said.
Researchers at the National Institute of Virology are constantly monitoring the spread of this variant in the metropolis, which is really a matter of concern, he said.
It is pertinent to mention here that in the previously genotyped samples, 15 percent of samples had already been detected as delta variants, he said, adding these delta variants have been identified in various parts of the city.
He urged the citizens not to violate SOPs. He maintained that there was a dire need to take concrete steps in the city as the delta variant was quite fatal, and was responsible for the devastating second wave in India.
It is pertinent to mention here that the variant was identified in October 2020 in India.
The main characteristics of this variant are increased transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), a significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, and reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines.
Pakistanis need to be more cautious against the spread of Coronavirus in the new wave, as this variant, especially, has the potential to spread in a major chunk of the population within a short period, he said.