Wed, December 01, 2021

in-focus

Virus expert concerned about South African strain sneaking in from Malaysia


A senior virologist at Chulalongkorn University has expressed concern about the pandemic situation in Malaysia due to the spread of the South African strain of the virus, or B.1.351.

The Indian variant was found in foreign travellers during quarantine, said Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the university's Faculty of Medicine.

The Indian strains are separated into groups B.1.167.1, B.1.167.2, B.1.167.3 and two Bengal strains. However, this was not a concern at all because everyone entering was strictly quarantined, he said.

What is extremely worrisome now is the outbreak of Covid-19 in Malaysia which has seen five outbreaks of these five strains. Based on publicly available database of 74 species in Malaysia, it was found that the South African species made up 31 per cent, or about 1 in 3 in the outbreak in Malaysia.

Therefore, there is a strong possibility of this species entering the South of Thailand. The severe outbreak now can cross natural borders into Thailand, Dr Yong said.

The South African species is a strain that would weaken the effectiveness of the vaccine, he said. This strain should not be allowed to spread in Thailand, the expert warned.

Published : May 02, 2021

By : The Nation