New strain of Covid-19 from UK found in four Britons in quarantine
An expert virologist at Chulalongkorn University has said that the mutant coronavirus in the United Kingdom has now been found in Thailand.
Dr Yong Poovorawan said in a Facebook post on January 3 that the Centre for Specialisation in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine in Chulalongkorn University had decoded the strain of the virus and found a UK coronavirus mutant, also known as B.1.1.7 mutant.
The virus was obtained from a British family of four from Kent, England. They were isolated in an alternative state quarantine hotel under a private hospital care, to ensure the virus does not spread.
Genetic decoding shows that this British mutated virus, which is viewed warily all over the world and has led to suspension of flights from the UK, have two genetic transcripts -- mutations at the human cell receptor-binding domain (N501Y), mutation in the spike protein (P681H), spike 69-70 deletion, and other positions.
This strain made the transmission easier and spread rapidly in this family, infecting all four people.
However, this strain will not aggravate the disease in Thailand and is not related to vaccine efficacy. The four British patients are under close watch in controlled conditions, to prevent the virus from spreading. The patients are still in a negative pressure room to ensure they come out without infection.
He added that Thai people should stay assured that the virus has not yet had a chance to spread in the country.