KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 4 — The highly contagious Delta variant comprised 94.9 per cent of 1,312 Covid-19 samples tested by a genomic sequencing consortium as of September 30, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
The health minister said Delta was detected in 1,246 of the 1,312 samples, while Beta was found in 11 samples, and non-variants of concern were identified in the remaining 55 samples. These samples were taken from all states in the country.
“To date, no Mu or Lambda variants have been identified in samples in Malaysia,” Khairy told Beaufort MP Azizah Mohd Dun in the Dewan Rakyat.
The genomic sequencing consortium comprises seven institutes under the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), as well as research institutes under the Ministry of Higher Education (KPT): the Institute for Medical Research, the Malaysian Genome Institute, UKM Medical Molecular Biology Institute, the Tropical and Infectious Diseases Research Centre at University of Malaya, the iPROMISE Institute at Universiti Teknologi Mara, and the Institute of Health and Community Medicine at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak.
MOSTI initially provided about RM3.2 million in funds under the Strategic Research Fund to the seven research institutes to undertake genomic sequencing of 3,000 samples.
Malaysia has uploaded 3,009 genome sequences to the global GISAID database as of September 30.
“To enable the consortium to continue genome sequencing analysis of SARS-CoV-2, MOSTI has also announced additional funding of RM13.9 million. These funds will enable continuation of genomic sequencing that is crucial to monitor the entry of new variants into Malaysia,” said Khairy.
The health minister did not reveal the proportion of samples run for genome sequencing by state level. Sarawak is currently facing a surge of Covid-19 cases, including a spike in hospitalisation rates, despite high vaccination coverage with about 67 per cent of the state’s total population being fully inoculated.