Coronavirus Omicron Subvariant BA.4 India First Case Detected In Hyderabad

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New Delhi: India reported the first case of BA.4 subvariant of Omicron in Hyderabad under the Covid-19 genomic surveillance programme on Thursday. The 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), reported Moneycontrol.

The group of genetic laboratories are engaged in identifying new variants of SARS-CoV-2 from Indian Covid-19 positive patients.

Scientists informed that details of a BA.4 subvariant from India were entered on GISAID, a global science initiative that offers open access to genomic data of influenza viruses and the coronavirus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic.

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What’s the BA.4 variant all about?

Geneticists have identified the BA.4 variant in the sample collected on May 9 from a Covid positive individual in Hyderabad, stated the report.

A week back the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDPC) had declared BA.4 and BA. 5 Omicron subvariants as ‘Variants of Concern’, as per the Forbes report. Since January, both the BA.4 and BA.5 variants of Omicron are associated with the fifth Covid wave in South Africa, a fresh wave of infections in the US and Europe.

What experts say about the sublineages?   

Scientists said the extensive immunity in the Indian population due to the Omicron wave that hit India in January this year, a new Covid-19 surge-if any-is most likely to stay at low levels, according to the Moneycontrol report.

The report cited a scientist with the Indian Council for Medical Research as saying that random cases of BA.4 may have also been detected in other cities in the country over the last few days.

New omicron sublineages, discovered by South African scientists in the month of May may evade vaccines and natural immunity from prior infections, the head of gene sequencing units that produced a study on the strains said, reported news agency Bloomberg.

Both BA.4 and BA.5 sublineages seem to be more infectious than the earlier BA.2 lineage, which itself was more infectious than the original omicron variant, according to Tulio de Oliveira, head of the institutes at the universities of KwaZulu-Natal and Stellenbosch.

However, Oliveira noted that all South Africans either having been vaccinated against the coronavirus or having had a prior infection, the recent surge means that the strains are more likely to be capable of evading the body’s defenses rather than simply being more transmissible.

The WHO’s technical lead on Covid, Maria Van Kerkhove, said that at least 16 countries have reported nearly 700 BA.4 infected cases.

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