9 months ago

Researchers detect new omicron sub-variant in Bangladesh

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Representational image

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Researchers on Tuesday detected a new Omicron sub-variant in the country named BA.4/5 in the bodies of two Bangladeshi men at the Genome Center of Jessore University of Science and Technology (JUST).

The victims are 44 and 79 years old, said the research team.

One took booster dose and the other took the first two doses of the Covid vaccine.

Researchers at the genome centre identified the new Covid sub-variant through a partial (spike protein) genome sequence of the virus collected from infected people in Jessore.

One of the victims is being treated at the hospital and the other is being treated at home. The victims have various mild symptoms including fever, sore throat, cold and cough. Researchers believed that both of them have been infected locally, according to the university genome centre.

The research team also found that sub-variant BA.4/5 showed mutations similar to omicron in spike proteins. However, this subvariant also has mutations in amino acid number 452 of the spike protein like the delta variant. 

The omicron subvariant was first identified in South Africa this year and later in India last month. Scientists believed that this subvariant is responsible for the fifth wave of corona infection in South Africa and more recently the third wave of corona in India. 

People who have been vaccinated are also being infected by this subvariant, said JUST researchers adding that in the coming days, this subvariant may cause more infections than other variants detected. 

Vice-chancellor JUST and director of the Genome Center, Professor Dr Md. Anwar Hossain said this subvariant is able to easily evade the human immune system. 

He emphasized strict adherence to coronal hygiene, including the use of masks. 

He said that it would be possible to know more about this subject by sequencing the complete genome soon and the work of identifying this subvariant would continue at the JUST Genome Center. Earlier, local infections of Delta and Omicron variants of Coronavirus were also detected at the Genome Center. 

Chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Associate Director of the JUST Genome Center Prof. Iqbal Kabir Jahid led the research.

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