(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) –The COVID-19 coronavirus variant currently spreading in Sri Lanka is confirmed to be a variant of the virus detected in the UK, said Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, the Director of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura on Wednesday (28).
Dr. Jeewandara said mutations specific to the UK variant B.1.1.7 lineage, had been detected in the samples taken from infected people in Colombo, Boralesgamuwa and Kurunegala.
”The B.1.1.7 variant of the coronavirus which is spreading in the UK is 100% confirmed to be spreading in Sri Lanka. This was confirmed from tests conducted on samples obtained from Colombo, Kurunegala, and Boralesgamuwa,” he said.
The more virulent coronavirus variant that is prevalent in Britain has been identified during extensive testing of 43 samples obtained from Colombo, Boralesgamuwa and Kurunegala.
Dr. Jeewandara further said this particular strain of the coronavirus has been identified as the cause for the rapid spread of the Covid 19 virus in this country.
The rate of transmission of this virus is up to 50 percent higher than that of other variants and the mortality rate is also about 50 percent higher than the normal variant, said Dr. Jeewandara.
However, the new variant of the virus is still sensitive to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Dr. Jeewandara said.