The B.1.1.7 Alpha variant has been detected in 80 samples from multiple locations and the B.1.617.2 Delta variant has been detected in one sample collected from an overseas returnee undergoing quarantine.
The individual with the Delta variant travelled from India and was undergoing quarantine in Waskaduwa. According to Sri Jayewardenepura University’s Immunology and Molecular Medicine Department Director Dr. Chandima Jeewandara, the Alpha variant was found in samples collected from Colombo, Batticaloa, Trincomalee, Kuliyapitiya, Wariyapola, Habaraduwa, Tissamaharama, Kara-pitiya and Ragama. “There are specialised PCR tests to identify the Alpha variant. We carried out 460 such tests and confirmed that, in addition to the above areas, the B.1.1.7 variant was also identified in samples collected from Kandy,” Dr. Jeewandara said.
He stated that the sequencing report published on 9 June studied samples collected since 1 May and that the Alpha variant was prevalent in the country.
Dr. Jeewandara added that the B.1.1.7 Alpha variant had also been detected in fully vaccinated healthcare workers but that they had recovered fully from the virus. The health workers received the Covishield vaccine. The B.1.411 variant, which is the Sri Lankan lineage, was detected in one sample from Tissamaharama. The B.1.1.7 Alpha variant originated from the United Kingdom while the B.1.617.2 Delta variant originated from India.