Highly infectious strain detected

KUALA LUMPUR: The highly infectious Covid-19 mutation, known as D614G, has been detected in the country.

The Malaysian Institute for Medical Research detected the mutation in three cases from the Sivagangga cluster and another from the Ulu Tiram cluster.

Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who disclosed this, said the virus with the D614G mutation was highly infectious and “found to be 10 times easier to infect other individuals”.“It is easier to spread if spread by superspreader individuals. So far, the two clusters are under control as a result of swift public health intervention.

“These are initial tests and several follow-up tests are being conducted to test other cases, including the index case for the two clusters,” he said in a Facebook post yesterday.

The D614G mutation, he said, was detected by scientists in July and it was possible that the current vaccine studies would be ineffective against the mutation.

Research published in the journal Cell by scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in the United States showed that the mutated strain would increase infectivity of the virus.

The scientists involved said data showed that the variant with the D614G mutation became the globally dominant form of SARS-CoV-2.

Dr Noor Hisham advised the people to remain vigilant, and continue taking preventive health measures.

“This means being disciplined in practising the SOP that has been set, such as physical distancing, maintaining high standards of hygiene such as washing hands with soap, wearing face masks especially in public areas, crowded places, confined spaces and when in close contact,” he said.

Malaysia recorded a total of 25 new Covid-19 cases yesterday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 9,200.

Dr Noor Hisham said of the total, 16 were imported cases, with nine local transmissions involving seven Malaysians and two foreigners.

“Out of the seven cases transmitted locally involving Malaysians, five were from the Tawar cluster in Kedah, one from a pre-surgery vetting test at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu and another case from the Tawar cluster in Penang,” he said in a statement yesterday.He said there were 28 recoveries recorded, bringing the number of those discharged to 8,859.

On the Tawar cluster, Dr Noor Hisham said six new cases, comprising five in Kedah and one in Penang, were recorded, raising the number of cases detected for this cluster to 39.

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