KUALA LUMPUR: The Health Ministry has detected 17 locally transmitted Covid-19 cases with the South African variant B.1.351, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.
Of the total, nine positive Covid-19 cases with the variant were detected from the Kebun Baru cluster, close contact screening (four), Jalan Lima cluster (three) and Teknologi Emas cluster (one).
He said the variant was first found on two employees from a company based at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on March 18, as well on a case each from the Jalan Lima cluster and close contact screening.
“To detect the spread of the B.1.351 variant, genomic sequencing was carried out on cases in the nearby geographical areas including Kuala Langat and Sepang districts. Hence, as of today, 17 cases were detected with the variant.
“The phylogenetic analysis, as well as geographical correlations, also indicate the probability of such cases being from the same source of infection.”
Dr Noor Hisham said other than variant of concerns (VOC) B.1.351, the Health Ministry also detected two United Kingdom B.1.1.7 variants from screening at the international entry points.
“The screening also detected another two cases with Nigerian B.1.525 variant on March 5.”
He said genomic surveillance on 143 cases in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur found the B.1.524 lineage to be the most dominant.
“This lineage has spike mutations of D614G and A701V.”
In Sarawak, Dr Noor Hisham said seven cases have the lineage of B.1.466.2 and B.1.524, with both lineages having a mutation of D614G.
“In Sabah, 36 cases from Benteng LD, Saguking, Tenaga, and other clusters, have the lineage of B.1.466.2 and B.1.524.
“In Labuan, eight cases from the Jalan Mohammed Salleh and Taman Mahkota Impian clusters have the lineage of B.1.466.2.”
Dr Noor Hisham said in Kedah, D614G was detected from the Tembok, Sivagangga, Tawar, Sala, and Sungai clusters cases.
“In Melaka, Negri Sembilan and Kelantan, B.1.36.16 was detected from the Kaya and Hilir clusters.
“In Johor, two cases from Bukit Tiram cluster had the lineage of B.1.1.163, with spike mutations of D614G and S12F.
“In Penang, the B.1.524 lineage with spike mutations of D614G and A701V were detected in three cases.”
Meanwhile, Dr Noor Hisham said the Institute of Medical Research (IMR), the National Health Institute, and the Health Ministry have conducted 273 genomic sequencings of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19).
Of the total, 128 were carried out last year and 145 this year.
“From 145 genomic sequencing, 22 cases (or 15.2 per cent) were the variants of concerns (VOC), while the remaining 123 cases (85.8 per cent) included non-VOC while the majority were of B.1.524 variant.
He said the third wave, which started in Sabah after the Benteng LD cluster involved D614G and A701V mutations.
“The most significant lineage during the third wave is B.1.524, which is the most common variant in the total genomic sequencing to date.”