Covid's Epsilon strain of Covid virus found in Pakistan amid '4th wave'
Epsilon strain, widespread in the United States, is not common in South Asia. On March 5, this year, the World Health Organization listed Epsilon as a variant of interest. On July 6, it has been designated under 'alerts for further monitoring'.
Amid a sudden and massive surge in the number of Covid-19 cases in Pakistan, the Punjab health authorities have issued an alert after five cases of California Epsilon strain of Covid-19 were detected in Lahore, the Dawn reported.
Epsilon is not a new variant as it is believed to be the second-most dominant variant in New York, but might be new in South Asia. First found in California in 2020, this variant is now present in at least 34 countries and was widespread in the United States.
According to medical experts in Pakitan, as reported by the Dawn, Epsilon is a new threat as it is believed to be somewhat vaccine-resistant and almost as highly transmissible as the Delta variant. Delta has become the most dominant strain in Pakistan as well.
“Our department had collected 23 suspected samples in Lahore and five of them had been found positive for Epsilon,” Punjab Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department Secretary Sarah Aslam said in a statement, issued on Friday.
What is Epsilon strain?
A study by the University of Washington has found out that the Epsilon variant underwent three mutations and that is why it is potent to evade vaccine protection. Patients may take longer to recover if they are infected by this stain, experts claimed. On March 5, this year, the World Health Organization listed Epsilon as a variant of interest. On July 6, it has been designated under 'alerts for further monitoring'.
4th wave in Pakistan
In the past few days, Pakistan has seen a sudden spike in the number of positive cases, which is being seen as the fourth wave of the pandemic. On Sunday, Pakistan reported 5,029 Covid-19 cases which is the highest since April 29, when 5,112 infections were reported. Pakistan has achieved 3 crore vaccinations. The Sindh province is the worst affected and is presently under partial lockdown. In the last 24 hours, it reported 2,772 new infections and 30 deaths.