The World Health Organisation (WHO) and health authorities across the globe had been closely tracking a new mutation of the Covid-19 virus labelled as AY.4.2, or also being known as the Delta Plus variant.
The Health Ministry (KKM) had on 6 November confirmed that the new mutation has arrived in Malaysia and it involved the imported cases of Malaysian students returning from the United Kingdom.
In the statement, the Health Director-General, Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the cases were detected when the individuals arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on 2 October.
He said that both individuals has undergo the RT-PCR test and were initially found negative. However, they were confirmed positive after the second test, which was conducted on 7 October during the quarantine period.
“This sample has undergone full genome sequencing at the Institute of Medical Molecular Biology, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UMBI-UKM) and the result was released on 30 Oct.” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also explain that the AY.4 variant is among 75 types of lineages originating from the Delta variant and among the sublineages of AY.4 is the AY.4.2 variant, which is also known as Delta Plus.
“The AY.4.2 variant has two additional mutations to the spike proteins, namely, Y145H and A222V, and as of the end of October 2021, the AY.4.2 variant represents 10% of the total full genome sequencing conducted in the UK.” he said.
Dr Noor Hisham also said that the UK Health Safety Agency had on 20 October designated the Delta Plus as a variant under investigation.
“The vaccine used now is still effective against this variant and measures such as quarantine, testing, and so on carried out can help reduce the risk of transmission of this variant in Malaysia, especially at the country’s international gateways.”
“MoH will continue to monitor closely to detect the existence of Delta subvariants in the community.” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said ongoing studies by the Institute of Medical Research and UMBI-UKM have, respectively, found 44 and 46 new cases of the variant of concern (VoC) Delta B.1.617.2.
With this, the cumulative number of cases categorised as VoC and VoI (variant of interest) is now 3,782 cases, which is 3,762 VoC cases and 20 VoI cases.
Currently, the cumulative VoCs comprise 3,522 cases of the Delta variant, 226 cases of the Beta variant, and 14 cases of the Alpha variant, while for VoIs, there are 13 cases involving the Theta variant, 4 with Kappa and 3 with Eta.
Do not let your guard down!