Delta dominating COVID cases in Sri Lanka – Prof. Malavige | Daily News

Delta dominating COVID cases in Sri Lanka – Prof. Malavige

The Delta variant of COVID-19 is dominating Sri Lanka and almost 90 per cent of the new cases found in Colombo belonged to the Delta variant, Head of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine, University of Sri Jayawardenapura Prof. Neelika Malavige said.

She was addressing a webinar organized by the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce on the topic of Covid and the Way Forward.

Prof. Malavige said that in all countries, the Delta variant is dominating. “We don’t know how prevalent it is in the rest of the country since we don’t get representative samples from other parts of the country. There should be national coordination to get representative samples to determine the spread of Delta in other parts of the country. But I can confidently say that more than 90 percent of cases are Delta.”

“Sri Lanka has very high deaths per million individuals. We have high case fatality rates due to COVID-19 and we have very high positivity rates and very minimum testing,” she noted.

According to her, poor reporting of actual cases, either not collecting relevant data or not doing testing, poor risk communication by authorities, not enough ICUs, oxygen, lifesaver drugs, and trained staff available to care for patients have resulted in a high fatality rate. Prof. Malavige further said that the vaccines do not prevent symptomatic infection from variants and people who received both vaccines have also died or are in ICU care. Fully vaccinated people can also transmit infection. As per the reports, vaccines have made COVID 19 far less lethal. A fully-vaccinated 80-year-old now has the same mortality risk as an unvaccinated 50-year-old.

According to UK data, the efficacy of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca against symptomatic disease for Delta is 35 percent with one dose and 79 per cent with both doses. The efficacy of these vaccines against hospitalization with delta is fantastic since the efficacy of these vaccines against hospitalization on fully vaccinated people is more than 96 per cent.

“When it comes to the efficacy of Sinopharm and Sputnik V vaccines, there is no clinical trial data on efficacy or any observational studies on efficacy against Delta.

The study carried out by the Jayawardanapura University is only about the development of antibodies after administering Sinopharm and that not reflect vaccine efficacy and a clinical trial is required to determine the vaccine efficacy,” she added.At present, the B.1.617.2 Delta variant of COVID-19 is responsible for 95.8% of all COVID-19 infections in Sri Lanka, according to a study carried out by University of Sri Jayewardenepura (USJ) researchers including Prof. Neelika Malavige and Dr. Chandima Jeewandara from the Allergy, Immunology and Cell Biology Unit of the Department of Immunology and Molecular Medicine.

The researchers came to this conclusion after investigating the prevalence of different SARS-CoV-2 variants in different provinces in Sri Lanka. The study had revealed that the Delta prevalence was between 84% to 100% in different provinces.

“It is important to find out the prevalence of different SARS-CoV-2 variants in different provinces in Sri Lanka, to take relevant policy decisions regarding control of COVID-19,” the USJ said.


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