Health D-G: ‘Very contagious’ mutation of coronavirus detected here

A health worker in protective suit swabs a driver’s mouth at a drive-through testing site for Covid-19 at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital in Petaling Jaya March 28, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
A health worker in protective suit swabs a driver’s mouth at a drive-through testing site for Covid-19 at KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital in Petaling Jaya March 28, 2020. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said medical researchers have found a mutation of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19 in Malaysia.

He said the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) discovered a more contagious variant of the SARS-CoV-2 that was responsible for 120 Covid-19 infections here.

“IMR has isolated and cultured the virus. Based on that, we have found out that Case 26 has one mutation.

“The mutation was very contagious and infected 120 individuals,” he said in his daily Covid-19 briefing.

Dr Noor Hisham said this when asked whether Malaysia has identified any mutation of the virus after India reportedly discovered 10 different mutated strains yesterday.

“India reported to have 10 mutations, but we were made to understand that there are 30 mutations of this virus so far,” he said.

“What we urge IMR, for now, is to not only conduct tests but also study the virus by isolating and culture in order to find out whether there is a different strain of the virus present here,” he added.

He reiterated that all three strains of SARS-CoV-2 that were previously identified have been detected in Malaysia.

“Our cases are mostly from strain B which is similar to the type which infected the Chinese in Wuhan if compared with strain A which is from the United States and strain C from Europe.

“We have to conduct more study on the positive Covid-19 cases under the second wave, where the cases involved people returning from the affected countries,” he said.

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