Ground Report | New Delhi: Omicron BA.2 Variant; Scientists are closely watching a recently discovered subvariant of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus to determine how its emergence could affect the future spread of a pandemic.
The initial Omicron variant has become the dominant strain of the virus in recent months, but British health authorities have identified hundreds of cases of the latest version, dubbed BA.2, in particular, while international data suggests it could spread relatively quickly.
Omicron BA.2 Variant
“Omicron is now in the community transmission stage in India and has become dominant in multiple metropolitan areas, where new cases have increased exponentially,” INSACOG said in its recent bulletin released on Sunday. INSACOG reports on genomic surveillance of SARS CoV-2 across the country through sequencing of samples from Sentinel sites and detailed district-by-state analyses for some states.
The research organization Genomics has also said that an infectious subvariant of the Omicron BA.2 lineage has been detected in a sizeable fraction in India. “The BA.2 lineage is a substantial fraction in India and therefore S gene deletion-based screening is likely to give many false negatives. Proper tests for PCR-based screening applicable to all lineages from Omicron have been approved for use,” the genomics consortium said.
INSACOG has said that while most Omicron cases so far have been asymptomatic or mild, hospitalizations and ICU cases have increased in the current wave. The threat level remains unchanged.
“The recently reported B.1.640.2 lineage is being monitored. There is no evidence of rapid spread and while it has immune escape characteristics, it is not currently a variant of concern. So far, no cases have been detected in India.”
The COVID-19 research body has said that globally, the majority of severe cases and deaths have been in unvaccinated subjects, with high protection associated with vaccination or previous infection.
In which countries is BA.2 most dominant?
- The BA.2 subvariant, detected in at least 43 countries, is believed to have become the most common variant in several countries. It already accounts for the majority of the most recent cases in several countries, including India, Denmark and Sweden, according to media reports.
- The number of daily Covid-19 cases has started to rise again in Denmark. In the first 10 days of January, the UKHSA identified more than 400 cases in Britain.
- The original Omicron strain, also called BA.1, is dominant in the UK, and the proportion of BA.2 cases is currently low, according to UKHSA.
- Based on the increasing number of BA.2 sequences identified both nationally and internationally, the designation was made.
- As of January 21, 426 cases of Omicron BA.2 have been confirmed by Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS). The first case dates from December 6, 2021.
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