PETALING JAYA: A more aggressive mutation of the Covid-19 virus is believed to be the cause for the higher infection rate of cases linked to Patient 26, say the Health Ministry.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) had found a mutation that might have caused the virus to become more aggressive in the case of Patient 26.
“At IMR, we carried out virus isolation and also cultured the virus.
"For instance, in the case of Patient 26, we have studied the virus and found that there was a mutation.
“It may be that this mutation has made the virus more aggressive, and it has spread and infected about 120 people, ” he said in a daily press briefing on Wednesday (April 29).
Patient 26 is UDA Holdings Bhd chairman Datuk Hisham Hamdan who was Shanghai in the middle of January, though he denied he contracted the virus there.
He started to develop symptoms on Feb 27, tested positive for Covid-19 on Feb 29 and was immediately warded at the Sungai Buloh Hospital.
Dr Hisham added that the IMR’s role was not only to conduct tests for Covid-19 but to also focus on researching the virus and its different strains.
“We see that for the first wave of infections and the initial stages of the second wave, the virus in our cases were of strain B, which come from Wuhan.
“This is different from strain A, which is linked to most cases in the United States, and for Europe it is strain C, ” he said.