Twenty-one more cases of the Indian variant of COVID-19 have been found among construction workers staying at a Laksi worker housing facility, raising the Indian variant cases to 36 so far.
Director-General of the Department of Medical Sciences Dr. Supakit Sirilak said today (Friday), that the department has decoded the genetic makeup of 80 viral specimens, taken from workers at the housing camp and its neighborhood, and found 36 of them to be the B.1.617.2 COVID-19 Indian variant.
The 36 cases include the 15 cases disclosed earlier today by CCSA Spokesman Dr. Taweesin visanuyothin. 21 are Thais, 10 are Myanmar migrant workers and 5 are migrant workers from Cambodia.
Dr. Supakit said that the remaining viral specimens are the UK variant, or B.1.1.7, adding that 87% of the infections in Thailand are of this strain.
He went on to say that the department will study samples from other areas as well, to try to determine the spread of the Indian variant, which the department has found to be responsive to vaccines so the public should not panic.
He also said that the department’s laboratory is capable of conducting genetic decoding of 394 COVID viral samples a week, which is higher than the 150 samples set by WHO standard.
For quick results, the department can administer targeted sequencing analyses, which can give a result in just 1-2 days.
Meanwhile, Director-General of Disease Control Department Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong said that most of the initial 15 Indian variant cases have mild symptoms, but they can easily transmit the disease to other people. The workers have been isolated in negative pressure rooms at a field hospital.
The AstraZeneca vaccine has been shown to be capable of reducing infections by both the UK and Indian variants in Britain, he added.