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No such thing as a ‘Thai variant’, says Mahidol scientist

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The so-called “Thai variant” of Covid-19 reported in the UK this week did not actually come from Thailand, a leading Thai scientist said on Friday.

The C36.3 Covid-19 variant does not originate from Thailand because it has not spread in the country yet, said Dr Wasan Chantratit, head of Mahidol University's Centre for Medical Genomics.

He spoke after Public Health England reported 109 cases of the new C36.3 variant from Thailand had been detected in the UK.

Dr Wasan explained that Thailand had found the C36.3 strain in a 33-year-old man on his return from Egypt in January. The man had recovered and C36.3 had been eliminated from Thailand, he added.

A Covid variant must have spread in a country before that country is named as its origin, Wasan explained.

"Also, we don't know where the returnee travelled after being discharged and visiting Britain."

Published : May 28, 2021

By : The Nation