Brazilian and South African Coronavirus Variants Discovered in Sindh


Dr. Azra Pechuho, the Health Minister in Sindh, recently announced that the Brazilian and South African variants of the novel coronavirus have been discovered in the province. These mutations were found in samples of the disease taken at the Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH).

The Health Minister disclosed this information in a video message, which he posted on the official Twitter account of the Sindh Health and Population Welfare Department. She went on to add that the hospital collected a total of 13 samples in order to carry out a genomic study and consequently, confirm the presence of the variants of the virus in the country. 

She further revealed that of these 13 samples, 10 were reported to be of the UK variant, whereas two were of the South African variant, and one belonged to the Brazilian mutation. 

Dr. Pechuho went on to add that all three of these strands of the coronavirus could cause devastating consequences and bring the current healthcare facilities to their knees. 

In addition, she warned that the UK variant spreads more rapidly and is more lethal. It has an infectivity rate of 60% and a 68% rate of fatality, if a person contracts this variant. According to her, the fatality rate of the Brazilian and South African strands is also quite high. 

The Health Minister declared that the country is now in an official state of emergency since these particular mutations are not vaccine responsive. She added that while the vaccines being administered all over the country can fight off the original coronavirus, they are useless against these new variants.

She encouraged people to adhere to the necessary precautions as outlined by the relevant authorities and take this matter seriously. 

Dr. Pechuho recommended that people avoid crowds and do not even attend small social gatherings. She further discouraged unnecessary travel. She maintained that if the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and coronavirus guidelines were not followed, Pakistan would face a humanitarian crisis, similar to that of India. 

A couple of days ago, several health officials from Sindh confirmed that the UK variant of the novel coronavirus is slowly making its way to the province. It has currently been fueling the third wave of the deadly disease in the provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. 

Pechuho revealed that after a genomic study was carried out in Karachi, 50 samples confirmed that the UK variant of the coronavirus is present in the city. She expressed concern at the spread of the virus in the most populated city in the country. 

Mehar Khursheed, a spokesperson for the Health Department, stated that these samples had been taken from people travelling to Karachi via international and domestic flights. 50% of these passengers tested positive for the UK variant. He further clarified that this is not the overall ratio of the total number of positive cases found in the province of Sindh.