The Health director-general said this was based on samples of four cases in Parliament, which had been sent for whole genome sequencing to conclusively determine the variant.
“Today, the Institute for Medical Research (IMR) received four samples for whole genome sequencing from the National Public Health Laboratory in Sungai Buloh.
“These four samples are related to the positive cases in Parliament screened on July 29 where subsequent diagnostic RT-PCR showed positivity with low cycle-threshold (CT) value,” he said in a tweet on Sunday (Aug 1).
The CT value refers to the number of “cycles” it takes for the PCR machine to make copies of the virus’ DNA, with a lower CT value suggesting a higher viral load.
Dr Noor Hisham said that the genotyping assay suggests the samples could be linked to the Delta or Kappa variants.
“Whole genome sequencing takes eight to 14 days to complete.
“IMR carried out a genotyping assay (Allplex SARS-CoV-2 Variants II Assay), which utilises real-time PCR platform and provides results for variants of concern and variants of interest within four hours.
“All four samples indicate presumptive positive for Delta or Kappa variants,” he said.
"However based on the variants of concern that are circulating in the community, it is highly possible that it is the Delta variant.
"Clinical studies have reported that cases with the Delta variant have viral loads that were 1,200 times higher than cases with other variants.
"Whole genome sequencing will be conducted for further confirmation,” he added.
The Health Ministry had recommended for all activities in Parliament House to be postponed over a two-week period from July 29.
Dr Noor Hisham said this was based on a health risk assessment and to prevent transmission of Covid-19 in Parliament.