Coronavirus in Pakistan: What is the Epsilon strain?

WION Web Team
LahoreUpdated: Aug 03, 2021, 02:09 PM IST


Story highlights

The Epsilon coronavirus strain is reportedly resistant to coronavirus vaccines and has "indirect and unusual neautralisation escape strategy"

According to reports, health authorities in Lahore have detected five cases of Epsilon coronavirus strain in Pakistan's Punjab province.

The virus strain B.1.429 which was first detected in California is reportedly resistant to coronavirus vaccines.

US Centre of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had earlier categorised the strain as “variants of concern” due to a surge in cases in California.


The World Health Organization(WHO) had listed the Epsilon as a "variant of interest" in March. It is reportedly present in at least 34 countries around the world.

Epsilon variant, also known as CAL.20C reportedly relies on "indirect and unusual neutralisation escape strategy", according to a science journal.

On Saturday, officials had ordered a partial lockdown in Karachi for a week due to a surge in COVID-19 cases with hospitalisations increasing in the city.

Karachi's virus positivity rate has reached 25 per cent as Pakistan's vaccination drive continues to struggle with just 5.9 million people fully vaccinated in a population of 220 million.

Pakistan authorities had banned staff from entering public offices, schools and restaurants without vaccination certificates. The country has been hit by the highly transferable Delta variant.

On Saturday, Pakistan had reported 4,950 new coronavirus cases with 65 deaths in the 24 hours.

(With inputs from Agencies)