A new Omicron sub-variant of coronavirus, "XBB', has been detected in Dhaka and Chattogram, said Dr Adnan Mannan, professor of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Chattogram.
The presence of a new variant 'XBB' was found in the sequencing done in October at the Next Generation Sequencing, Research and Innovation Laboratory (ENRICH) of the Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology of the University of Chattogram, Dr Adnan Mannan told The Business Standard.
The age of those infected with the XBB variant is between 20 and 35. This sub-variant is much more contagious. However, the infection rate is relatively low as most people in Bangladesh have been vaccinated, he added.
Dr Adnan further said that besides Chattogram University, the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) has also detected the sub-variant.
A press release sent by icddr,b on 23 October said that from 10 September to 14 October, icddr,b sequenced 92 SARS-CoV genomes and found the virus keeps changing over time. In the first two weeks of genome sequencing from 10 to 23 September, Omicron BA.-2 was identified at 84% and BA.-5 at 16%.
The press release further states that most of these sub-variants have been replaced by an all-new sub-variant named "XBB", which constituted 85% of the viruses spread across the country in the last three weeks (24 September to 14 October).
According to the World Health Organisation's weekly epidemiology update on Covid-19 (26 October), 390 Omicron-descendent lineages and 48 recombinants have been identified. XBB and XBB.1 have been reported by 35 countries with 1,453 genomic sequences, including Singapore, India, Bangladesh, Australia, and the USA.
Bangladesh reported 88 Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours till 8am on Monday.
The positivity rate was recorded at 2.81% during the same period after testing 3,649 samples across the country.
So far 29,423 people have died and 2,035,240 have tested positive for the virus in Bangladesh since 2020.