COVID-19: D614G mutation in Benteng LD cluster originated from Indonesia, Philippines – Health DG


THE D614G mutation of the COVID-19 virus found in the Benteng LD Cluster in Sabah originated from Indonesia and the Philippines, said Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

He said that based on research conducted by Institute of Medical Research (IMR) laboratories, although the same mutation group (D614G) was detected in several clusters in Kedah, the two had different characteristics.

“We also conducted a study on the virus strain found in Sabah (Benteng LD Cluster) and found that it was also D614G (but) from Indonesia and the Philippines. The strain is from the same group (as the Sivagangga Cluster, Tawar Cluster and Sungai Cluster in Kedah) but the characteristics are not the same.

“As such, we feel that there is a slight increase in infectivity compared to the previous strain. (But) what is important is to take health precautions,” he said in the press conference on COVID-19 today.

Previously, Dr Noor Hisham was reported to have said that they had detected a D614G-type mutation that is 10 times easier to infect other individuals and easier to spread by ‘super spreader’ individuals from the Sivagangga Cluster.

Meanwhile, citing the infectivity rate (or R-naught)  that was successfully reduced in Kedah, Dr Noor Hisham said preventive measures in the early stages was vital in combating the spread of COVID-19 in Sabah.

“In Kedah, for example (the R-naught rate) in the initial stages was high at over 2.0, but it has now been successfully reduced. In Sabah, we see the R-naught is at 1.4, so our action now is the Targeted Enhanced Movement Control Order (TEMCO) in four districts.

“Apart from that, roadblocks between districts, public health measures and tightening of borders are being implemented. We believe that by implementing measures as before, we can control the infection in Sabah,” he said.

He also stressed that just like in Selangor, although the number of cases recorded is not as high as in Sabah, the implementation of health measures was important considering the infectivity rate in the Klang Valley state is 1.9

“We can see that in the nine-month period, we have implemented health measures and successfully ended 100 clusters. Now there are 24 active clusters which are being monitored. Our fight continues,” he said.