New variants identified in Bangladesh

Some Bangladeshi researchers on Monday claimed that they had identified in the country a new novel coronavirus variant which has similarities with the South African variant.

They at a view exchange meeting said that in clinical samples of coronavirus, known as of SARS-CoV-2, they found that the virus was mutating in the country, resulting in creation of a number of new variants.


Researchers of Gono Bishwabidyalay, Jahangirnagar University and BRAC University conducted the research on the samples at Gonoshasthaya RNA Molecular Diagnostics and Research Centre.

‘We have urged the government to take steps for genome sequencing of all coronavirus variants systematically and vaccinating all people in the country soon,’ said Nihad Adnan, microbiology associate professor in Jahangirnagar University and also a team member of the researchers, at the meeting at Gonoshasthaya Nagar Hospital at Dhanmondi in Dhaka.

In a presentation, he claimed that they had genome sequenced SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19.

The people who have been infected with the new variants have no foreign visit history, he said.

He said that they could not find further nature, impact, effect and other behaviour of the variants as further research and funding were needed. 

They sought government patronisation for further research on the new variants.

The research findings were submitted to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information and the GISAID, a global science initiative and primary source that provides open-access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

On December 24, the Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research announced that it had identified a COVID-19 variant which is also defined by two spike protein mutations similar to those in the UK variant.

Gonoshasthaya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury called on the government to allocate $1 million for research on coronavirus and vaccines.

He said that if the government allocated the fund in public sector research activities, many Bangladesh-born foreign researchers and Bangladeshi young researchers could help the country.

Mohd Raeed Jamiruddin, Firoj Ahmed, Shaminur Rahman, Nafisa Ajmuda and Shamsun Nahar are other members of the research team.

Gonoshasthaya Samaj Vittik Medical College vice-principal Mohib Ullah Khandoker, nephrology department head Mamun Mustafi and clinical laboratory science head Mahbubur Rahman and GK press adviser Jahangir Alam Mintu, among others, were present.

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