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Pakistan

South African, Brazil and UK variants of coronavirus responsible for third wave in Pakistan: Study

  • The study found that these variants were responsible for causing 54% of new infections in Pakistan from December 2020 to February in Karachi.
  • The COVID-19 positivity ratio jumped from 1.538% during November to 7.6% in December 2020 to February 2021.
16 Apr 2021

The third coronavirus wave in Pakistan may be due to the United Kingdom (UK), South Africa (SA) and Brazil variants of the coronavirus.

The study by a senior pathologist and president of the Infection Control Society of Pakistan Dr Rafiq Khanani, Dr Muhammad Hanif and Dr Adnan Dinar who are both molecular biologists, has been accepted for publication in an international journal.

The study analyzed 3,501 positive samples and found that the UK variant in 944 samples and Brazil and SA variants (together) in 934 samples. There were 1,623 cases of old infection.

The study also revealed that the UK, SA and Brazil variants were responsible for causing 54% of new coronavirus cases reported in Karachi from December 2020 to February 2021.

The COVID-19 positivity ratio jumped from 1.538% during November to 7.6% in December 2020 to February 2021, the study revealed. According to the study, the surge in these infections indicates that these cases were imported to Pakistan from the countries where these viral strains were spreading during November 2020.

“Unmonitored international flights and no quarantine on arrival in Pakistan from any country seemed to have led to a rapid introduction of the variants in Pakistan,” Dr Khanani said. He further said that that the most worrisome finding of the study is that the COVID-19-specific monitoring and screening system at our airports is highly flawed.

The study further showed that these variants affect women and younger age groups more 'if their pattern is compared to the previous data of coronavirus outbreak'.

Experts at Karachi University’s National Centre for Virology also detected the SA variant with the UK variant in the samples tested at the facility. Around 50% of the positive cases tested at the facility involved the UK variant while 25% were the South Africa variant.

5,364 new cases and 110 deaths were reported in Pakistan during the last 24 hours. Pakistan's coronavirus tally stands at 745,182 while the death toll is 15,982.