Covid-19: Malaysia detects 23 new variant cases of SARS-CoV-2

KUALA LUMPUR (June 10): The Ministry of Health (MoH) detected across Malaysia 23 new variant cases of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), which causes Covid-19, between last Thursday (June 3) and Tuesday (June 8). 

All 23 cases have been classified under the variant of concern (VOC) category of SARS-CoV-2, according to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Facebook post today.

The US' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines the VOC category of SARS-CoV-2 as a variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease, significant reduction in neutralisation by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.

Meanwhile, the variant of interest (VOI) category of SARS-CoV-2 is defined by the CDC as "a variant with specific genetic markers associated with changes to receptor binding, reduced neutralisation by antibodies generated against previous infection or vaccination, reduced efficacy of treatments, potential diagnostic impact, or a predicted increase in transmissibility or disease severity”.

In Noor Hisham’s Facebook post today, he said that until yesterday (June 9), Malaysia’s cumulative number of SARS-CoV-2 cases categorised under the VOC and VOI segments was 161.

“Out of the total [number of cases] detected, 145 were VOC cases, while 16 were VOI cases,” he said.

On the 23 new variant cases of SARS-CoV-2, Noor Hisham said today they comprised 19 cases involving the Beta variant and four involving the Delta variant.

He said the 19 cases of the Beta variant involved eight infections in Selangor, three in Putrajaya, two each in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Kedah, and one each in Perak and Perlis.

Meanwhile, the remaining four cases of the Delta variant comprised two infections each in Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur, according to him.

Besides the VOC category, the variant of interest (VOI) of SARS-CoV-2 is also present in the country, according to Noor Hisham.

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