Home / Science / Health /  ‘India detects 1st case of Omicron’s BA.4 variant’

NEW DELHI : India has detected the first case of Omicron’s sub-variant BA.4 in Hyderabad. However, the sample has been sent to Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) for double check. The official announcement from INSACOG is yet to be made, a person familiar with the matter confirmed on Thursday. 

“An African national had come to India for some business meeting and he was found covid positive at the Hyderabad airport. His samples sequenced and found BA.4. The information came last night and as a matter of caution INSACOG is verifying the sample again. The patient has however left for his country, on 16.5.2022, as he was Asymptomatic. contacts have been enlisted and tracing people who came in his contact," said the person in a know of the matter.

The queries emailed to the health ministry’s spokespeople did not immediately answer till the time the story was published. 

Last week, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control in a statement noted that there is an increasing trend in the variant proportions for BA.5 observed in Portugal accompanied by an increase in COVID-19 case numbers and test positivity rate. ECDC has asked countries to remain vigilant for signals of BA.4 and BA.5 emergence. 

There is currently no indication of any change in severity for BA.4/BA.5 compared to previous Omicron lineages, stated ECDC. 

On Wednesday, Dr Rajesh S. Gokhale, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology (DBT) at the Union Ministry of Science & Technology told Mint that INSACOG is tracking the data and co-relating the data in terms of severity of the disease. 

“Omicron virus is very unstable virus become it has 15 mutations, whereas in Delta we did not see much mutations. Omicron is continuing to evolve and whatever we are seeing is sub-lineages of Omicron. BA.4 and BA.5 is coming from same lineage, but we are already protected, however, we should not lose our guards. In most of the European countries we are seeing a surge in BA.4 and BA.5 because they have not seen the Omicron wave in the past. This is a highly transmissible variant," said Raman GangaKhedkar, Senior scientist and former head of epidemiology and senior scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).


Priyanka Sharma

Priyanka Shamra is a health and pharma journalist with nearly nine years of field reporting experience. She is a special correspondent with Mint. Her beat includes covering the Ministry of Health and Department of Pharmaceuticals. She also covers the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the Department of Biotechnology.
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