Amid the scare caused by the Omicron strain of Covid-19, the Delta variant still accounts for the maximum number of infections and hospital admissions in Bangladesh, as revealed by the genome sequencing of the patients' samples.
In the one month until 8 January, a research team of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) conducted genome sequencing of 96 patients' samples and found only 20% of them having caught Omicron. Besides, none of those contracting the new variant required hospitalisation.
On other hand, the remaining 80% of patients were infected with the Delta strain and were admitted to hospitals. Even those vaccinated were found to have contracted the new variant, according to the sequencing report.
BSMMU researchers say the number of patients infected with the Omicron variant might multiply towards the end of this month.
The BSMMU disclosed these data on Tuesday after having tested samples collected between 8 December 2021 and 8 January 2022.
"Delta was found to be the dominant variant among patients in our country," BSMMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Sharfuddin Ahmed said while addressing a press briefing.
"None of the patients admitted to hospitals had Omicron. But some of the samples collected from outpatients tested positive for Omicron," he added.
In the meantime, with the country's Covid situation deteriorating fast, 10 more deaths and 8,407 new infections were reported in the 24 hours till 8am on Tuesday, according to the health directorate.
The daily positivity rate rose to 23.98%, which is the highest since 9 August last year.
The number of confirmed cases surpassed the 8,000 mark for the first time since 13 August last year, when 8,465 people were diagnosed with the virus.
Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee of Covid-19, told TBS that if Omicron overtakes Delta, both hospital admissions and deaths will go down because the new variant appears to be less severe.
The BSMMU vice-chancellor said Omicron is still milder than Delta. However, comorbid patients catching the variant are at high risk.
Therefore, there is no reason to take Omicron lightly. All have to abide by health guidelines, he added.
With the first detection in Bangladesh on 11 December last year, Omicron cases now stand at 55, according to Germany's Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data.
Bangladesh has logged 28,164 deaths and 1632,794 cases since the Covid-19 outbreak in March 2020. ***