Malaysian health officials have detected a far more infectious mutation of the coronavirus in the country, The Straits Times reported on Sunday.
The Malaysian Institute for Medical Research discovered the D614G mutation in four cases from two Covid-19 clusters in the country - the Sivagangga cluster and the Ulu Tiram cluster, said health chief Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Facebook post on Sunday.
Abdullah said the discovery of the mutation indicates that people need to be more careful and continue being disciplined in practising safety measures including social distancing, personal hygiene and wearing of masks.
The health official said the strain was found in preliminary tests and that follow-up tests would be conducted on other cases including the index cases of both clusters. “It is found to be 10 times more infectious and is easily spread by an individual ‘super spreader’,” he said, of the mutation.
Abdullah said the D614G mutation was discovered by scientists in July 2020, and could render the existing vaccine research incomplete or ineffective against the new strain.
He, however, stressed that the Malaysian public health authorities had controlled the spread of the virus from the affected clusters.
Malaysia reported 26 new cases on Saturday, taking the total number of infections to 9,175. No new fatalities were reported, keeping the death toll at 125.