Coronavirus Has Mutated Into Three Strains And Spread Across The Globe, Says Malaysia

Coronavirus Has Mutated Into Three Strains And Spread Across The Globe, Says MalaysiaCoronavirus has mutated into three strains.
Snapshot
  • The virus that originated in Wuhan has mutated into three different strains, and has spread across the globe.

Coronavirus, also known as Covid-19 or SARS-Cov-2, has mutated into three different strains and spread across the world unevenly.

Malaysia Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Khairy Jamaluddin quoted a University of Cambridge research, which mapped the spread of coronavirus from its epicentre at Wuhan, discovering the three different strains — A, B and C.

The A strain is the root of the coronavirus outbreak that originated in Wuhan in China. The strain's presence has been found in bats and pangolins.

The B strain, responsible for a majority of infections in Wuhan and East Asia, is separated by two mutations — in which the gene undergoes alteration and leads to change in the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) sequence.

Mutation, which occurs due to exposure to chemicals or radiation, results in a changed DNA structure of the organism compared to the original and thus becomes problematic in tackling it.

The C strain, which branched out of the B strain, is the source of infection in a majority of Europeans having originated from Singapore.

The A and C types are the ones that have been wreaking havoc in the US and Europe.

According to Malaysia Health Director General Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, his country has found all three strains in people of his country returning from abroad.

Dr Abdullah, however, said that the C strain is found mostly in Malaysia, Singapore and most of Europe.

The Malaysian government found out during a comparison of samples from the first wave and second wave of the pandemic that the virus in A and B strains was the same.

While the first wave struck Wuhan, the second one affected Europe, the US, Japan and the UK.

Malaysia identified 23 persons with coronavirus on 25 January in the first wave with 16 of them being Chinese, an American and six non-Malays.

Malaysia had tested the virus of patients in the first and second waves and found all of them to be of the B strain.

Till now, 5,532 people have been affected by coronavirus in Malaysia with 93 deaths being reported.

It is pertinent to note that Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao told the media that the virus found in those whose infections have been traced to the Tablighi Jamaat Nizamuddin Markaz congregations last month in Delhi was a virulent one.

Rao said it was different from the one found in those who had returned from abroad to his state. Many Tablighi preachers who took part in Ijitma Asia event in Malaysia are believed to be the source of the Nizamuddin virus spread.

Countries With High Travel Volume To China Susceptible

In a related development, a study by The Lancet revealed that 36 cases of coronavirus up to 15 February were linked to three clusters of circumscribed local transmission in Singapore.

The journal conducted a study of three clusters — a Chinese tour group, a company conference and a church in Singapore. The common link in the three clusters is that the pandemic virus was traced to China.

The Lancet has interpreted its findings to say that SARS-CoV-2 can be transmitted in community settings and countries with high travel volume to China are vulnerable.

India’s first coronavirus case tested in Kerala was traced to Wuhan, China.

M.R. Subramani is Executive Editor, Swarajya. He tweets @mrsubramani

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