British variants accounting for 70% of Pakistan’s COVID cases: researchers

Karachi, Pakistan — The first coronavirus variant found in the UK now accounts for up to 70% of all COVID-19 infections in Pakistan, a research center studying the country’s disease said on Saturday. Said.

The country has imposed strict national restrictions on the Muslim festival in Eid al-Fitr next week to control the surge in incidents, including a ban on public transport during the holidays.

“In Pakistan, (today) British variants are 60% to 70% prevalent,” Professor Muhammad Ikubal Chaudhry, director of the International Center for Chemistry and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) at the University of Karachi, told Reuters. .. The January figure was 2%.

ICCBS will work on the COVID-19 sample and provide research and data to the government.

Known as B.1.1.7, the “UK variant” first identified in the UK at the end of last year is believed to be more infectious than other previously predominant coronavirus variants. However, Chaudhry added that it has not yet been established whether the variant is more deadly.

He also said that the variants found in neighboring India, which had seen a massive surge in cases in recent weeks, have not yet been detected in Pakistan, which is necessary for them to detect the variants. I didn’t have a kit named B.1.617.

He said a kit was ordered to detect the variant and would soon arrive in the country.

Mr Chaudhry said the variants are likely to have already reached Pakistan because the diasporas of both countries are closely interacting in the Gulf countries.

Pakistan has killed more than 100 people a day in recent weeks. Authorities are concerned that a tense healthcare system could reach its limits if more infectious coronavirus variants begin to spread, as it happened in India.

Overall, Pakistan has registered 854,240 infections and 18,797 deaths from COVID-19. Official daily infections remain low, between 4,000 and 5,000, but the country conducts only about 40,000 tests per day, which is only a small part of the population of 220 million.

The country has recently stepped up its vaccination drive and immunized about 3.3 million people. On Saturday, I received the first batch of 1.2 million vaccinations under the COVAX quota.

By Syed Raza Hassan