The Chughtai Lab and Chughtai Institute of Pathology confirmed the predominance of Covid-19 UK-Variant during the third wave of pandemic in Punjab.
Departments of Virology and Molecular Genetics collected 62 samples at random at the end of March to be tested for variant type.
The study effectively concluded that 60 out of the 62 samples (97%)were lineage B.1.17 (UK variant) and 2 samples were found to be lineage B.1.351 (South African variant) through a genomic study.
The study also concluded that the absence of the early variant of the virus (Wuhan variant) indicates that the virus has mutated itself completely from the original strain.
The study was led by Prof Dr Waheeduz Zaman (Head of Virology) and Dr Saadat Ali (Head of Molecular Genetics) and their team.
Prof Akhtar Sohail Chughtai and Dr Omar Chughtai expressed their concern over the rapidly increasing cases and the dominance of the UK variant during the third wave of Covid-19 in Pakistan. The third wave has seen a surge in cases in the last three months.
This strain of the virus is also known to affect children and detailed studies on the virus will enable us to better understand the consequences of the mutation.
The findings of this study correlates with the behaviour of the virus where it manifests a higher infectivity and involvement of younger population age groups.
The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has included the UK and South African variant in the list of the variants that are being closely monitored globally as they have a tendency to spread fast.
So far studies conclude that the antibodies generated through the currently authorized vaccines are effective against these variants.
Given the rapidly mutating nature of the virus, this research supports the need for effective lockdowns on public gatherings and increased personal hygiene to reduce the spread of the coronavirus in Pakistan.