Pakistan’s Punjab Witnessing Coronavirus Cases with Multiple COVID-19 Strains: Study


Islamabad, May 15: As the deadly third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Pakistan, the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department has uploaded a fresh study that says the country and its Punjab province has been facing circulation of multiple strains of coronavirus with visible dominance of the UK-variant.

The study was carried out by virologists, health and medical experts at the Punjab Public Health Reference Laboratory (PPHRL), reported Dawn.

“In February 2021, the PPHRL had installed Next Generation Sequencer to elucidate ongoing impacts of SARS-CoV2 surge in Pakistan, whereby we developed a strategy to screen out Gene Target Failure (GTF) among confirmed SARS-CoV2 cases”, it read. WHO Confirms COVID-19 Variant B.1.617 Has Three Sub-Lineages.

The study further said that a PCR panel screening S gene Target Failure (SGTF) was observed in 50 per cent of the Punjab population, which reported most cases from Lahore, Gujrat, Okara and Jhelum. It also found the UK variant is 90 per cent sequenced cases.

There is already evidence that one mutation, D614G, confers increased ability to spread more quickly than the wild-type SARS-CoV-2, reported Dawn.

The D614G variant is believed to have increased the ability of the virus to be transmitted and was the most common type circulating in the UK.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Tuesday crossed another grim milestone as the number of COVID-19 deaths in the country exceeded 19,000.

As the nation celebrated the occasion of Ed, Pakistan reported 2,517 new cases and 48 deaths, pushing the total caseload to 8,73,220 and the overall death toll to 19,384, ARY News reported citing National Command and Operation Contre (NCOC) data.

In wake of the rising COVID-19 cases, all private and public schools of Punjab will remain closed, announced the provincial education minister Murad Raas.

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