Delta-Omicron combo could fuel third Covid wave: Experts

By Express News Service

BHOPAL: For all those taking the Omicron variant of the Coronavirus just like a common cold, cough and fever, this could be a wake-up call.  Being afflicted with Coronavirus’s Omicron variant may no longer mean that the infection remains in the upper respiratory tract, but the viral infection could even spread to the lungs.

A prominent private medical college-hospital engaged in treatment of COVID-19 patients in Indore since the pandemic’s first wave in March 2020, has claimed that 14 of its recent patients have been found to be infected with BA.2, the new sub strain of Omicron variant of COVID-19.

The Shri Aurobindo Institute of Medical Sciences (SAIMS) in Indore claimed on Monday that at least 14 patients’ who had tested positive in Indore earlier this month, have been found to be infected with the BA.2 sub strain.

According to SAIMS chairman Dr Vinod Bhandari, unlike the Omicron’s B.1.1.529 amd BA.1 strains (where the infection largely remained in the upper respiratory tract), the new sub strain BA.2 is infecting the lungs also.

“The 14 patients, who were aged between two months and 86 years, were found infected with the BA.2 sub lineage of Omicron variant, following the genome sequencing of their samples at our hospital recently. Unlike the BA.1 sub strain where the infection largely remained in the upper respiratory tract of the patients, the new sub strain BA.2 was infecting the lungs also up to 40%,” Dr Bhandari told The New Indian Express.

“Lungs of fully vaccinated patients of the new sub strain were infected between 1% and 5%, but the lungs of non-vaccinated or single dose vaccinated patients were infected even up to 40%, as revealed by the Chest CT reports of the concerned patients,” he claimed further.

“Despite the lungs of some patients being infected, all of them were safe and in no danger,” he maintained.

According to Dr Ravi Dosi, the consultant chest physician at SAIMS-Indore, “Omicron variant should not at all be taken lightly just as like any normal cough-cold-fever infection, as the new sub type of the Omicron variant is also found to be infecting the lungs of patients. Six of the patients found infected by the new sub strain are children aged up to 17 years, while remaining patients are adults. The Chest CT reports of some patients, particularly those already suffering with kidney problems, diabetes and other comorbidities, have revealed the involvement of lungs also, leading to complications. These patients were put on Oxygen support and one patient is still on Bipap.”

At least six patients, aged between 24 and 76 years, showed infection’s lung involvement.

Among the six children infected with Omicron variant’s new sub strain, one was just two months old, another one year old patient, a 7-years-old boy, a 10-years-old boy and two teenagers aged around 17 years.   

Indore, which is Madhya Pradesh’s most populated city presently has a maximum 22,964 active cases in the state. It alone constitutes around 33% of total 69,893 active patients presently under treatment in home isolation and institutional facilities in the state.

On Monday, Indore reported 1963 fresh cases at 19.22% positivity and three deaths. In a pleasant change, 2104 fresh recoveries were reported in the city, which meant more recoveries and less new cases in a single day after a long gap.