Thai Health Officials Don’t Like Name For New COVID-19 Variant

Reports indicating the existence of a new coronavirus strain from Thailand have been disputed by Thai health authorities.

109 cases of a new form of coronavirus, coded C.36.3, have been reported in England by Public Health England (PHE), an agency within the Department of Health and Social Care.

According to the PHE report, cases who traveled from Egypt were first detected in Thailand with the C.36.3 variant.

The PHE did not name the variant, but the UK media quickly referred to it as the Thai variant. Thai authorities immediately rejected the term as wrong.

According to Dr. Udom Kachindhorn, adviser to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), the new strain has not been detected among local  transmissions in Thailand.

He said UK authorities should alert Thai officials so they can conduct an investigation before disseminating such information.

According to Dr. Udom, the UK has not sent a sample of the variant to Thai authorities, adding that more than one laboratory must verify the variant.

The details remain unclear as PHE continues to investigate the matter and carry out laboratory tests of the new variant, one of many that PHE has reported.

According to the report, this variant has not yet been proven to cause more serious disease or reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

Director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, Supakit Sirilak, said his agency is looking into the PHE report, noting that he is opposed to the term Thai variant.

According to Dr. Supakit, a preliminary investigation revealed that the new strain was brought into Thailand by Egyptian travellers who had been quarantined after arriving.

Egypt was the origin in principle. Therefore, it could not be called the Thai variant. He said it should be called the Egypt variant.

According to Dr. Supakit, an Egyptian man, 33, tested positive for the  coronavirus while he was under quarantine for 14 days in Thailand.

He noted that a sample from the man was sent to Chulalongkorn University’s laboratory for identification on Jan 31st, 2021, which revealed the man was infected with a variant of B.1.1.1.

Dr. Supakit said it was later changed to C.36.3 under a new recording system.

On Jan 2nd, 2021, Japan identified a concerning variant from a Brazilian national, but the strain was never branded  as the Japanese variant.

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