COVID-19: Omicron in community transmission stage in India, says govt body
- The omicron variant is in the community transmission stage in India, INSACOG said
- It is also becoming the dominant variant in multiple metro cities
- BA.2 sublineage of omicron has been found in a substantial fraction of cases in India
Omicron is also becoming the dominant variant in multiple metro cities, which have been witnessing a spike in their COVID-19 cases.
"Further spread of Omicron in India is now expected to be through internal transmission, not foreign travellers, and a revised sampling and sequencing strategy of INSACOG is being worked out to address genomic surveillance objectives in the wake of dynamic changing scenario of virus infection," the INSACOG said.
The health body under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, gives updates about genomic surveillance of the virus through sequencing of samples and also detailed state-wise district analysis for some states, reported PTI.
Two INSACOG bulletins from January 3 and January 10 each were released on Sunday. While most cases of omicron infections remained asymptomatic or mild, the steady increase in hospital and ICU admissions warranted caution, they warned.
"Omicron is now in community transmission in India and has become dominant in multiple metros, where new cases have been rising exponentially. BA.2 lineage is in a substantial fraction in India and S gene dropout based screening is thus likely to give high false negatives," the January 10 bulletin read.
The BA.2 sublineage of omicron has been dubbed the 'stealth omicron' by some scientists, with rising fears surrounding its seemingly faster growth.
"It is possible that BA.2 is causing the local cluster infection. Even as this sub-lineage is different from its siblings, genetically it belongs to the same family and hence there is no significant difference in the clinical course of the disease," immunologist Dipyaman Ganguly from the Indian Institute of Chemical Biology had told TOI.
As omicron becomes the dominant variant, INSACOG has advised that all precautions must be followed to contain the spread of the virus and prevent severe disease.
(With PTI inputs)