Expert urges strict checking to keep new Covid variants at bay


A MEDICAL expert warned that Thailand should impose intensive testing to delay the spreading of new strains of Covid-19 here for as long as possible, particularly since the door is now wide open for foreign tourists to come in, INN News said today (Jan. 3).

In a Facebook post Dr. Yong Poovorawan, head of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at the Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University, said the current Covid strains spreading in China are BA.5 and its subvariant BF.7.

While BA.5 had spread in Thailand before doing so in China leading to Thais now having good immunity against it, the point is the virus could mutate further especially when there are large numbers of patients as is the case in China.

This is something the authorities need to beware of, he added.

In-depth study shows that after the Covid strain Alpha spread in the UK a few months before yearend 2020, even though Thailand shut the country and required travellers to be quarantined for 14 days, this strain still managed to spread here in March 2021.

Likewise the Delta strain which spread from India to Europe and the US also reached Thailand after sweeping through the west.

The current strain in Thailand is BA.2.75 that has already passed through Europe and the US. The West and the rest of the world are currently being hit with BQ.1, and BQ.1.1 strains which are expected to trigger the next outbreak here and they are resistant to increased immunity, Dr. Yong warned.

Nevertheless these are all variants of Omicron which while being highly transmissible and less susceptible to vaccines seem to cause less severe illness. Yet it has been acknowledged to still be spreading worldwide.


Top: Over the past three months, China has detected over 130 sublineages of Omicron. Photo: Reuters and published by New York Post

Insert: Dr. Yong Poovorawan. Photo: INN News

Front Page: Big waves of Covid infections often lead to new variants forming, health experts said. Photo: Reuters and published by New York  Post

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