Researchers say that 75% of the Covid-19 patients identified in Chattogram are infected with the African variant of the coronavirus, Omicron.
The first patients infected with the Omicron variant were detected on 25 December last year. Earlier patients were mostly infected with the Delta variant.
The international database of the genome sequences of SARS CoV-2, Germany's Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), published the data on Thursday (20 January) morning.
This information came up in the genome sequencing of samples of Covid positive patients at Chittagong General Hospital and Chattogramm Maa-o-Shishu Hospital.
The study looked at the genome sequencing of 30 Covid-19 positive patients identified in November and December last year and in the first week of this month.
The genome sequencing showed that all patients from 1 November to 25 December 2021 were infected with the Delta variant. However, since 25 December, 75% of the Covid-19 patients have been infected with the Omicron variant.
The study was led by Dr HM Hamidullah Mehedi, junior consultant in the Department of Medicine, Chittagong General Hospital and Corona Unit physician and Dr Adnan Mannan, teacher at the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Chittagong University.
Dr Hamidullah Mehdi said, "We have tried to know the effect of Omicron in Chattogram. We found this information by genome sequencing only 30 samples. Hundreds of more samples need to be sequenced to get a clear idea of its character."
The latest type of omicron variant "BA2" or "stealth Omicron" was found in the body of two patients, for the first time in Chattogram.
Researchers say that 90% of the patients with Omicron have symptoms like sore throat and distorted vocal cords, while 85% of patients have symptoms of pain in different parts of the body, headache and 80% have fever.
This (BA2) variant has also been found in Texas and Houston of United States of America, India, China and Oman. It's not that dangerous. However, several new changes have been found in its spike protein.
Chittagong General Hospital's doctors Rajdwip Biswas and Minhazul Haque along with Dr Fahim Hasan Reza of Maa-o-Shishu Hospital, worked as assistant researchers in the study.
Scientists at the virology laboratory of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) were overall in charge of sequencing.
The research was supported and sponsored by the Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases at Dalhousie University in Canada. The data were analysed by Professor David Kelvin and graduate student researcher Abdullah Mahmud-Al-Rafat.