Omicron variant of COVID reaches community transmission stage in India: INSACOG

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has acquired the community transmission stage in India and has become dominant in multiple metros where new cases have been rising exponentially, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics or Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genetics Consortium (INSACOG) has said in its latest bulletin released on Sunday.

Even if Omicron cases are mild so far, the threat continues as the threat level remains unchanged.

The two-page bulletin of January 10, released on Sunday, adds that while most Omicron cases so far had been asymptomatic or mild, hospitalisations and ICU cases had been increasing in the current wave.

India reported 3,33,533 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, taking the active caseload to 21,87,205. While the daily positivity rate and weekly positivity rate stand at 17.78 percent and 16.87 percent respectively, the recovery rate stands at 93.18 percent.

The number of daily cases is lower than Saturday’s 3.37 lakh cases. However, the daily and weekly positivity rates have risen. Meanwhile, India’s cumulative Covid-19 vaccination coverage exceeded 162 crore as on Sunday, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

INSACOG is a consortium of 38 laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2 which is jointly initiated by the Central Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) along with the others.

As per the research organisation an infectious sub-variant of Omicron BA.2 lineage has been detected in a considerable fraction in India.

As per the bulletin of the consortium, “BA.2 lineage is a substantial fraction in India and S-gene dropout-based screening is thus likely to give high false negatives. Tests suitable for PCR based screening applicable to all Omicron lineages have been approved for use”,.

“The recently reported B.1.640.2 lineage is being monitored. There is no evidence of rapid spread and while it has features of immune escape, it is currently not a variant of concern. So far, no case has been detected in India”, the bulletin adds further.

Mentioning the global levels, INSACOG said the majority of severe cases and deaths have been in unvaccinated subjects, with high protection associated with vaccination or previous infection.