Sri Lanka has confirmed a new sub lineage of the Delta strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, detected in the island and termed B.1.617.2. AY 104. Dr. Chandima Jeewadara, Director, Molecular and Cell Biology Unit of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJ, said Sri Lanka now has three variants that originated in the country.
“The first one was B.411, which is a lineage of the ancestral SARS-CoV-2 virus, the second is the B.1.617.2. AY 28 and this is the third one,” Dr. Jeewandara said on 19th of November 2021. “AY 28 was mainly spreading in the Western Province, but this new AY 104 variant is spreading in the North, North Central and Southern provinces.” He said out of the samples tested in the USJ laboratory, 288 were confirmed to be AY 104 variant while 479 tested positive for AY 28 variant.
“It shows us that the virus has mutated in different ways and is spreading differently in each area,” he added. Dr. Jeewandara said the samples will be sent to Hong Kong to study the transmissibility of the variant. “We do not have the technology to work out the transmissibility of a lineage,” he said.
“Even though there are mutations, they have derived from the original delta variant. So we do not expect different behavior from these lineage than from the original variant.” Dr. Jeewandara said the AY 28 lineage was observed to be spreading in May,2021 while the AY 104 lineage is believed to have started spreading from June.
All COVID-19 vaccines are still effective against the mutated lineages, Dr. Jeewandara added.