Home / News / India /  India reports first case BA.4 Omicron variant. Read here for details on symptoms of this sublineage
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The very first confirmed case of the BA.4 Omicron variant in India has been reported from Hyderabad, as per the recent data available with the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). The group of genetic laboratories are currently working to identify new variants of SARS-CoV-2 from Indian Covid-19 positive patients. This is first the first time that the BA.4 variant of Omicron has been reported in India.

It is important to note that the BA.4 Omicron variant was identified by geneticists from the sample of a Covid positive individual in Hyderabad, which was collected on May 9. Since January, both the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Omicron have been associated with the fifth Covid wave in South Africa, a fresh wave of infections in the US and Europe. 

The symptoms of Omicron sublineages: 

  • New omicron sublineages, discovered by South African scientists this month, are likely able to evade vaccines and natural immunity from prior infections, the head of gene sequencing units that produced a study on the strains said.
  • As per reports, the BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages appear to be more infectious than the earlier BA.2 lineage, which itself was more infectious than the original omicron variant, said Tulio de Oliveira, the head of the institutes at the universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Stellenbosch, as per Bloomberg report.
  • With almost all South Africans either having been vaccinated against the coronavirus or having had a prior infection, the current surge in cases means that the strains are more likely to be capable of evading the body’s defenses rather than simply being more transmissible, de Oliveira said.
  • There are “mutations in the lineages that allow the virus to evade immunity," he said in a response to queries. “We expect that it can cause reinfections and it can break through some vaccines, because that’s the only way something can grow in South Africa where we estimate that more than 90% of the population has a level of immune protection."
  • “Our main scenario for Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 is that it increases infections but that does not translate into large hospitalizations and deaths," he said. South Africa recorded 4,146 new cases with a test positivity rate of 18.3% on Thursday. That compares with 581 cases and a positivity rate of 4.5% on March 28.
  • Meanwhile, the US scientists studying the new sublineages of this variant have said that so far, the key difference between the newer versions of omicron and the one that previously rocketed through the US is transmissibility. The White House’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has estimated that it is 50% more transmissible than the original omicron lineage. 
  • They also said that the coldlike symptoms vaccinated and boosted people feel as a result of an omicron infection are mostly the same regardless of the subvariant. "The omicron symptoms have been pretty consistent. There's less incidence of people losing their sense of taste and smell. In a lot of ways, it's a bad cold, a lot of respiratory symptoms, stuffy nose, coughing, body aches and fatigue," said Dr. Dennis Cunningham, the system medical director of infection control and prevention at Henry Ford Health in Detroit.

(With inputs from agencies)

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