KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 — The test results of 32 Covid-19 positive individuals all contain the D614G mutation, Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah revealed today.
In a Facebook posting, he said virology research undertaken by Malaysia’s Institute for Medical Research (IMR) indicated that the virus found in the 32 samples mirrored that found in the Tawar and Sivagangga clusters where the first D614G case was detected.
“IMR conducted genome tests on the 32 Covid-19 virus samples taken from our isolation and culturing process for the Benteng (23), Sivagangga (4) persons under investigation (PUI), Tawar (3), Sungai (1) and Bukit Tiram (1) clusters.
“As suspected, all 32 virus samples had the D614G mutation.
“Follow-up tests were conducted to study the genetic makeup of the virus that we had isolated and compare it with the previous mutation found in the Tawar and Sivagangga clusters.
“As it would happen, all the virus samples that we isolated from these Kedah clusters are interrelated and most likely came from the same source,” said Dr Noor Hisham.
In addition, he said all 23 Covid-19 virus samples from the Benteng cluster were found to be similar but had no connection to the virus that was found in Kedah, even though all of them had the D614G mutation.
As such, the Ministry of Health is continuing to conduct tests and compare these virus samples with others in the Covid-19 family or Phylogenetic tree, he added.
The D614G virus is said to be 10 times more infectious than other types, especially when transmitted by so-called ‘super spreaders’.
The D614G mutation was discovered by scientists in July 2020 and its emergence is seen as a setback to ongoing efforts to formulate an effective Covid-19 vaccine.
In the same Facebook post, Dr Noor Hisham once again advised the public to continue adhering to standard operating procedures (SOP) introduced to break the chain of Covid-19 infection, such as practising physical distancing, good personal hygiene and the wearing of face masks in public places.