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Omicron Subvariants BA.4 And BA.5 In India: What You Need To Know

According to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), two Omicron's subvariants of the coronavirus have been detected in the country - the first in Tamil Nadu and the second in Telangana.

Omicron Subvariants BA.4 And BA.5 In India

Last week, a report published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) designated the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants as variants of concern (VOC). It warned that they might fuel an increase in infections with a growth advantage of 12 to 13 per cent compared with the BA.2 subvariant [1][2].

  • The first case of the BA.4 subvariant of Omicron coronavirus in India has been detected through a genomic surveillance program in Hyderabad.
  • A 19-year-old girl from Tamil Nadu was infected with the BA.4 variant of SARS-CoV-2. The patient has only mild clinical symptoms and was fully vaccinated. The patient did not have a travel history.
  • Furthermore, INSACOG reported that an 80-year-old male from Telangana had tested positive for the BA. sub-variant of Omicron. The patient has shown only mild clinical symptoms and has been fully vaccinated. The patient had no travel history.
  • The first cases of the BA.4 sub-variant were reported in South Africa on 10 January 2022 and represent 35 per cent of all positive tests. The BA.5 virus was identified on 25 February and accounted for about 20 per cent of cases across several South African regions [3].
  • In addition to South Africa, BA.4 and BA.5 have been identified in several other countries. In a report from the U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA), with data as of 22 April, BA.4 was found in Austria, the U.K., the U.S., Denmark, Belgium, Israel, Germany, Italy, Canada, France, the Netherlands, Australia, Switzerland, and Botswana [4].
  • Health officials identified BA.5 on the same date in Portugal, Germany, the U.K., the U.S., Denmark, France, Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada, Israel, Norway, Pakistan, Spain, and Switzerland.

On A Final Note...

As a precautionary measure, the INSACOG conducts contact tracing for the BA.4 and BA.5 patients. BA.4 and BA.5 are two subvariants of the Omicron virus. Earlier this year, these were first reported from South Africa. They are now being reported from several other countries as well. INSACOG states that these subvariants are not associated with disease severity or increased hospitalization.

Story first published: Monday, May 23, 2022, 13:00 [IST]
Read more about: covid omicron subvariants
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