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Business News/ News / India/  Omicron: Genome sequencing of every sample not possible, Centre explains why

Amid the concerns regarding the rising number of Omicron COVID cases in the country, the Centre on Friday affirmed that genome sequencing of every sample is not possible.

Explaining the constraints, NITI Aayog Member of Health Dr VK Paul said "It is a surveillance and pandemic assessment and tracking tool, not a diagnostic tool as of now. We can assure sufficient systematic sampling is being undertaken."

Paul was addressing the media regarding COVID-19 situation in the country. 

Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research Dr Balram Bhargava, who was also present during the press conference, provided the current update on the anti-viral COVID-19 pills.

“We have found that these pills need to be given very early, even before the diagnosis of the disease. Scientific data is still not supported in a big way that the pills will be useful at the moment."

Meanwhile, the Centre further informed as many as 101 cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 so far have been detected across 11 States and Union Territories. 32 cases were reported in Maharashtra, 22 in Delhi, 17 in Rajasthan, 8 each in Karnataka and Telangana, 5 each in Gujarat and Kerala, one each in Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively.

Addressing the press conference, Joint Secretary of Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said that “World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Omicron is spreading faster than the Delta variant in South Africa where Delta circulation was low. It's likely Omicron will outpace Delta variant where community transmission occurs, WHO added."

A new variant of COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation (WHO) from South Africa on November 25. As per the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 infection was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year.

On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. The WHO has classified Omicron as a 'variant of concern'.

(With inputs from agencies)

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Updated: 17 Dec 2021, 07:40 PM IST
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