11 July 2024

Four sub-variants of the fast-spreading Delta strain of coronavirus have been found in samples sent to the Centre of Medical Genomics at Mahidol University for examination, said Professor Emeritus Dr. Wasun Chantratita, chief of the centre, today (Tuesday).

He assured the public, however, that there is no cause for panic at the moment, as infections by the four sub-variants are still limited and there is very little information about their severity. He explained that all the genetic information on the sub-variants has been uploaded to “GISAID”, the global databank on COVID-19, adding that close monitoring of the sub-variants will have to be undertaken if there are more cases.

The sub-variants found in Thailand are AY.4 or B.1.617.2.4, which was found in 3% of the samples tested, AY.6 or B.1.617.2.6, which was found in fewer than 1% of samples tested, AY.10 or B.1.617.2.10, which was found in fewer than 1% tested and AY.12 or B.1.617.2.12, which was also found in fewer than 1% of samples tested.

The provinces where the sub-variants have been detected so far are:

  • 4, 9 cases since June – four in Pathum Thani, one each in Buriram, Kamphaeng Phet, Chiang Mai, Samut Prakan and Chon Buri
  • 6, 1 case in Bangkok in July
  • 10, 1 case in Bangkok in July
  • 12, 3 cases since July – two in Surat Thani and one in Bangkok

Dr. Wasun said that Delta variant has mutated into 27 sub-variants around the world and they continue to increase.

Meanwhile, Director-General of Medical Sciences Department Dr. Supakit Sirilak said that the four Delta sub-variants have already been found in England, the US, Denmark, Spain and France.

Cases are being found in some countries because there has been more screening and mutations occurring every day, so “if one day, there is a Thai sub-variant, don’t panic, because that means we are honest and are reporting the truth,” he said.

He disclosed that the Delta strain has spread to every province in Thailand, including Suphan Buri, the last province to report a Delta variant infection, with three cases so far.