After the northwest and southwest regions of the country, and the capital Dhaka, southeast Chattogram now confirms the prevalence of the coronavirus Delta variant, widely known as the Indian strain of Covid-19.
On Monday, a team of Chattogram University genetic engineering and biotechnology department researchers said they found two cases of the Delta variant, and suspect the strain has already entered the community level transmission phase in the port city.
The researchers collected 42 samples from seven testing facilities in Chattogram in the last week of May.
"Of them, two were of the Delta variant, three were of Eta (Nigerian), four were of Alpha (UK), and 33 were of the Beta (South African) variant," said team leader Prof Mohammad Al-Forkan, adding, "We suspect initial community transmission has begun."
The two patients found with the Indian strain do not have any recent travel history to India, suggested the research jointly conducted by Chattogram university and the icddr,b.
Bangladesh, on 8 May, reported the first case of the Indian variant detected in the country. In the first week of June, an Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) study found 80% of the coronavirus infections in Bangladesh were of the Delta variant.
The IEDCR study said the infection of the variant has entered the community-level transmission phase in Bangladesh. However, the study then did not include any samples from the port city.
Dr Sujat Paul, medicine department chief at the Chattogram Medical College and a member of the research team said, analysing the variants by genome sequencing was challenging and expensive as well.
He said the research findings would help doctors treat the Covid-19 patients better.
Chattogram University genetic engineering department Associate Professor Laila Khaleda said the detection of the Delta variant in Chattogram is worrying as the situation might take a deadly turn if preventive measures are not taken immediately.
The Delta variant of coronavirus, first discovered in India, is anywhere between 30% to 100% more transmissible than the previously dominant strains, according to Prof Neil Ferguson, a leading epidemiologist at Imperial College London.
As the strain started its roundups, coronavirus infections in India soared in a "tsunami" of disease, setting new and brutal records in deaths and detections for weeks.
The second wave hit the neighbouring country with such ferocity that hospitals ran out of oxygen, beds, and antiviral drugs. Many patients are still being turned away as the hospitals have already been overwhelmed.
In the face of the infection resurgence in India, Bangladesh sealed off its border with the country. Despite the border closure, many Bangladeshis, however, were allowed to return home with a Covid-19 negative certificate. The returnees were also put into mandatory quarantine.