MOH suggests all three strains of novel coronavirus may be present here

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the strains labelled as A, B and C could all be here as Malaysians had been returning from abroad from all continents. — Picture by Choo Choy May
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the strains labelled as A, B and C could all be here as Malaysians had been returning from abroad from all continents. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Apr 22 — All three strains of the novel coronavirus named SARS-CoV-2 could potentially exist in Malaysia, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said today.

He said the strains labelled as A, B and C could all be here as Malaysians had been returning from abroad from all continents leaving the Ministry of Health (MOH) to take samples from all those quarantined to identify which strains the patient is infected with.

He said in America the type-A strain, which could have originated from where bats are prevalent, while in China the virus is said to be type-B. In Malaysia, Singapore and most of Europe, the type-C strain is the most common one.

So in determining the proper treatment, Dr Noor Hisham said health authorities have to identify which strain the patient has, and take the necessary steps.

“The type-A virus from America for example could be a mutation because when we compared the samples from the first and second waves we noticed the virus from the first wave was the same as the one in Wuhan which is strain-B.

“The second wave involved people from Italy, America, Japan and the United Kingdom so we took samples and isolated the virus to see if there’s any mutations and to identify what sort of virus he have,” said Dr Noor Hisham today during his daily Covid-19 briefing.

“However, I believe these cases we have here are from all over the world so we may have all the strains in Malaysia,” he added.

The first wave in Malaysia had 22 patients and the first case was detected and isolated on January 25. It involved 16 Chinese nationals, six non-Malaysians and one American.

Dr Noor Hisham said authorities previously had taken tests from the first and second wave, and after culturing them, found that the infected all had strain-B.

“That’s why we need to take these viruses, culture it and study them. That’s being done by Institute for Medical Research.

“We hope when we do get the research papers we can use this as a platform to compare with other countries,” he added.

“Once we know what kind of viruses we have we need to get the percentages. So we need more information and data on this so we can give you better answers.”

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