Indian Covid-19 strains ‘not in Thailand yet’
Two potent strains of Covid-19 spreading rapidly in India have not yet been detected in Thailand, a Chulalongkorn University virologist said on Wednesday.
Dr Yong Poovorawan said Chula’s laboratory recently tested more than 500 samples taken from Covid-19 patients in Thailand and found 98 per cent were the B117 (UK) strain. None of the samples tested positive for the Indian, Bengal, South African or Brazilian strains, he said.
The Indian variant spreads faster than the UK strain because of a change in a spike gene from asparagine to tyrosine and its enhanced ability to enter human cells, explained Dr Yong.
Meanwhile, the Bengal variant has a Lysine spike gene at position 484 that may give it the same protection from vaccines as the South African and Brazilian strains.
India is now the global hotspot of the pandemic with more than 300,000 new cases per day this week and a death toll that has risen above 200,000.