Connect with us

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

B.1.351 South African Covid-19 variant found in Thailand

Neill Fronde



FILE PHOTO: The B.1.351 ("South African") variant was found in domestic transmissions in Thailand for the first time yesterday.

Like the world’s most morbid bingo game, Thailand can mark off B.1.351 on its Covid-19 scorecard. The strain of Coronavirus, sometimes called the South African variant, has been detected in undocumented migrants working in the southern province of Narathiwat. After studying samples collected May 13 from the cluster in the Tak Bai district, the Covid-19 Network Investigations group and independent scientist uncovered the strain for the first time in Thailand. This variant is worrisome as it affects human immune response and can lower the efficacy of most vaccines.

The scientist explained the spike mutations can dampen the immune response from Covid-19 in humans, and while it does not completely negate vaccines, it may require a higher percentage of the country to be vaccinated before herd immunity is possible. The group of scientists, who reported these findings yesterday to the Public Health Ministry, has been working with the Thai government throughout the Covid-19 pandemic studying genome sequencing in the virus.

The B.1.351 strain had been seen once before in Thailand. On February 15, while testing international travellers upon arrival in Thailand, the South African variant was found in a man who had travelled to the country from Tanzania. he was immediately quarantined as his mandatory upon arrival anyway.

The strain was not thought to have made it into Thailand at all. But yesterday’s discovery marks the first domestic transmission of the dangerous strain. Identifying the so-called South African variant outside of arrival quarantines suggest that it is already spreading inside the Thai borders, according to the head of the Centre for Emerging Disease Health Sciences at the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University.

Thailand’s first 2 waves of Covid-19 were relatively mild compared to the rest of the world, but the third wave has spread quickly in part due to new variants being introduced domestically. It is estimated that 87% of current Covid-19 cases in Thailand are the B.1.1.7 variant (the so-called UK variant), and at the beginning of this month, the P.1. variant originating in Brazil was detected in Thailand for the first time. Just 2 weeks ago, the first confirmed cases of the B.1.617.1 variant (commonly called the Indian variant) were seen in quarantine, though this week it was detected for the first time in domestic transmission.

The South African originating B.1.351 variant could create a new complication in Thailand fight against the deadly third wave of Covid-19, a wave much more widespread and prevalent than anything the country saw since the beginning of the pandemic, as the push begins to vaccinate everyone in the country.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Northern Thailand3 hours ago

Meteor causes explosion, green glow above Northern Thailand

Hua Hin5 hours ago

Elephant that broke into Hua Hin kitchen now in memes and ads

Tourism6 hours ago

Phuket governer reviews rules, new details for July 1 arrivals

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Shipment of 2 million Sinovac vaccines arrive from China

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Autopsy requested for young policeman with vaccine

Thailand9 hours ago

Despite corruption allegations, street lamp project continues in Samut Prakan

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sandbox is GO, vaccine cocktails, US warning on Thai travel | June 23

Best of10 hours ago

Top 5 Provinces to visit near Bangkok

Tourism10 hours ago

CCSA gives details on “Phuket Sandbox” and “Samui Plus” travel schemes

Best of10 hours ago

Top 5 Cities to visit in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Gap between AstraZeneca vaccines cut from 16 to 12 to 8 weeks

Best of11 hours ago

Top 5 Steakhouses in Bangkok

Best of11 hours ago

Top 5 Pubs in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Wednesday Covid Update: Daily death count hits record high; provincial totals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)13 hours ago

US is “unable” to provide Covid-19 vaccines to Americans who live overseas

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8