Genomic sequencing carried out at the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura on 94 samples in Sri Lanka found that 56 contained the delta variant, 36 contained the alpha variant and one sample had the beta variant.

Commenting on the country distribution of the delta and alpha variants by the 4th of July in its latest genomic sampling results report dated 6th August, the Department highlights that the delta variant was predominant in the western province and Galle district. It further states that it was not seen in the central province and many other areas in the country. The beta variant had been seen just once in the northern province in this sequencing run and in the previous one.


According to the report, the delta (B.1.617.2 )variant  was found in samples from the Colombo CMC area as well as in Dehiwala, Borelesgamuwa, Angoda, Kesbewa, Kolonnawa, Nugegoda, Maharagama, Panadura, Kahathuduwa and Piliyandala.  It was also found in samples from Kadawatha, Bandaragama, Biyagama, Ragama, Ampara, Karapitiya, Galle, Matara, Ratnapura, Vavuniya, Point Pedro, Kurunegala, Kandy, Ratnapura, Kalurata and Ahungalla.


Meanwhile the alpha ( B.1.1.7) variant was found in samples from Colombo (Kaduwela, Maharagama, Malabe) and Ampara, Badulla, Batticaloa, Bogambara prison, Jaffna, Karapitiya, Kalutara, Mannar, Matale, Moneregala, Nuwaraeliya, Kilinochchi, Kurunegala, Passara, Polonnaruwa, Ratnapura, Trincomalee.  


The one sample in which the beta (B.1.351) variant was identified was from Mannar.


Genomic sequencing which is resource intensive including in terms of technology and costs, is done in Sri Lanka once a month exclusively at the Department’s Allergy Immunology and Cell Biology Unit. These samples were sequenced from the last week of July.


The Department’s report goes on to add that between March 2020 and up to now it sequenced a total of 818 viruses. The breakdown is given as alpha 408, delta 117 and beta six. These are also the variants of concern which are seen in Sri Lanka.


As far as locations are concerned, the vast majority of viruses have been sequenced in the Colombo district but also from the areas of Anuradhapura, Vavuniya, Trincomalee, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Polonaruwa, Batticaloa and Hambantota.  


Other variants identified within Sri Lanka are the B.1.411 Sri Lankan variant, B.1.1.25, B.1.258, B.1.428, B.4, B.4.7, B.1.1.365, B.1.525, B.1 and B.1.1.


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