Samut Sakhon Covid matches GH strain from India, Myanmar: Lab results


The Covid-19 strain responsible for the outbreak in Samut Sakhon matches the variant of the virus that is common in Myanmar and India, the Department of Medical Sciences said on Wednesday.

The department decoded the genetic sequence of Covid-19 from both Thai and Myanmar patients, and found a match between the two, said the department’s director-general Dr Supakit Sirilak.

Laboratory tests showed that the GH strain is responsible for the Samut Sakhon outbreak. This is the same strain behind the outbreak in Myanmar’s Shan state that recently spread to the Thai border districts of Mae Sai in Chiang Rai province and Mae Sot in Tak. The GH strain of Covid-19 has spread widely in India, from where it likely entered Myanmar’s Rakhine state before spreading to Thailand. It does not match the strain responsible for Covid-19 in Indonesia, Thailand’s trade and seafood partner to the south.

The GH strain was likely spread to Thailand by Myanmar migrant workers who crossed the border illegally at Mae Sot, said Supakit.

He added that most common variants of the Covid-19 virus seen in Thailand were the S strains from Europe, followed by the G, GH, and GR strains which have spread throughout the world, from the Middle East to Europe and the Americas.

The N501Y mutant Covid-19 spreading across Britain had so far not been detected in Thailand, but health authorities were keeping an eye out for this highly infectious strain, he said.

“We will continue to decode virus samples from time to time so that we can detect any unusual variants quickly," said Dr Supakit.