Community transmission of Omicron seen in India

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Community transmission of Omicron seen in India

The increase in the number of people getting hospitalized and the rise in ICU admissions are a sure sign of the nation going into the community transmission of the Omicron variant. Although the cases so far have been mild or asymptomatic as per the genomics consortium. 

The INSACOG checks for variations in Coronavirus across the country to aid the people in understanding how the virus spreads and evolves. It then suggests the best possible public health response. 

According to the Indian SARS-COV2 Genomics Sequencing Consortium (Insacog), which is jointly initiated by the Union Health Ministry and the department of biotechnology along with CSIR and ICMR, Omicron has become a dominant variant in most metros where the cases have been rising at a rapid rate. The data dated January 10 that was released this Sunday via the weekly bulletin mentioned that the threat level posed by the variant remains unchanged.

The term Community Transmission has not been used by the Union Health Ministry since 2020 to describe the infections of COVID-19. When the Delta variant took over the nation during the second wave of the pandemic, the government maintained that the situation of Coronavirus was not the same all over the country because the outbreak was local and clustered with different patterns in different areas.

The World Health Organisation defines community transmission as a state when larger outbreaks of local transmission are experienced by people that can be assessed through various factors such as a large number of cases that cannot be linked to transmission chains, increasing positive tests through sentinel samples, and multiple clusters found in several areas of the nation, territory, or area. 

The Union government’s COVID body has also said that the BA.2 lineage which is an infectious sub-variant of Omicron has also been detected in the nation in a considerable fraction. This might also lead to the dropout of the S gene-based screening and will give high-false negatives as per the report by INSACOG. The S-gene dropout is a genetic variation like that of Omicron. 

The B.1.640.2 lineage is being monitored for now. There has been no evidence of rapid spread of the same. The features of the lineage are an immune escape, it is not the variant of concern yet. So far, no cases have been reported in India as per the data. 

According to the report, further transmission of the virus in India is estimated to be through internal transmission rather than foreign travelers. A revised sampling and sequencing strategy of INSACOG is also being worked out for the addressing of genomic surveillance objectives due to the rapid rise in the number of infections all over the country. So far, a total of 1,27,697 samples have been analyzed and a total of 1,50,710 samples have been sequenced by the INSACOG. 

For now, our best bet against all the mutations of SARS-CoV2 is following the COVID-appropriate behavior and getting vaccinated.

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