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Fact-Check: Does Karachi Have UK’s Coronavirus Strain?

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Dr. Atta-ur-Rehman, the head of the prime minister’s task-force on science and technology. said that he and his team are doing research on coronavirus, adding that similar genetic changes found in the new corona strain in the UK are found in his sample of Karachi. “We have found such strains in which there were genetic changes in the spike protein. Some of these are similar to the change seen in the UK’s new strain.”

This part of the interview has been misinterpreted by many and Pakistani Twitter went into panic as people started quoting this interview and claimed that Dr. Rehman has said that the new corona strain has come to Karachi.

Clarifying the aforementioned statement that he made, Dr. Rehman in the same interview further said that the similar changes that he and his team have found are not located on the same place as the UK variant on the virus’ genetic structure.
He said that viruses mutate while spreading in a population. The mutations are different in different countries. Some are common mutations while some are unique.

“There is more than one strain in Karachi and had I announced it earlier as well,” Dr. Rahman said. He says this is the reason why we need to close borders, control flights, and enforce stricter SOPs.

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Naya Daur