Navy cluster virus not related to strain doing the rounds in SL at that time
A surprise awaited KDU research team as they analysed raw data of samples – 9 were of a strain circulating in the US and the other from the B.1 lineage with mutations
Some interesting research with regard to the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) strains found in Sri Lanka is emerging from the Faculty of Medicine of the General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) at Ratmalana.
While one study focuses on a cluster which piqued the curiosity of all Sri Lankans in the early stage of the pandemic when the country had few cases last year, another follows a family’s journey during the Aluth Avurudda in April this year, before they fell like dominoes in the pathway of the virus.
It was around the time that the navy cluster erupted that the KDU RT-PCR testing laboratory saw the light of day initially in the Biomedical Lab-2 (BML-2) at the Faculty of Medicine, later moving to the University Hospital-KDU. The very first set of 58 samples from the navy cluster arrived at the lab on April 23, 2020 and to the team’s surprise, 26 samples were positive. This had been confirmed by independent testing at the Medical Research Institute (MRI) later.
Both the navy and family studies were led by Dr. Dharshan De Silva. The team which handled the navy study comprised Dr. Himali S. Jayasinghe arachchi, Dr. Prasad Premaratne, Prof. Charitha Goonasekera, Consultant Microbiologist Dr. Dilini Nakawita and Consultant Physician Dr. Dumitha Govindapala who were supported by the technical staff: Teshan Chathuranga, Pawani Kawyangana and Upeksha Kulasekara.