A panic-inducing declaration that a more-infectious mutation of the coronavirus delta variant had been found in Thailand turned out to be untrue.
Dr. Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, clarified Tuesday that the so-called “delta plus” variant – A.Y.4.2 originating in the United Kingdom – was not the version found in an Ayutthaya man.
Chawetsan Namwat, director of the Public Health Ministry’s Health Hazard and Disease Control Division, earlier had told the media that AY.4.2 was found in a 49-year-old man in the central province’s Bang Sai area.
According to Supakit, the delta variant has mutated and created as many as 47 sub-variants. The dominant sub-variant in Thailand was AY.30, and the country has not detected the AY.4.2 sub-variant, which is 10-15 percent more transmissible and was spreading in Britain.
Chawetsan had claimed the Ayutthaya man was the country’s first and only case of the British sub-variant before the patient’s samples had been sent for genetic sequencing at the Armed Forces Research Institute Medical Sciences.
He was wrong and clearly jumped the gun.
Supakit said Thailand had one patient infected with the AY.1 sub-variant in Kamphaeng Phet and the case already fully recovered. Officials were looking for the source of the infection and had not found any proof that the sub-variant was faster transmissible or more severe.
The National News Bureau of Thailand and Thailand News Agency contributed to this report.