The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is in the community transmission phase in the country and has become dominant in multiple subways where new cases are increasing exponentially, INSACOG said in its latest bulletin.
The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) also said BA.2 lineage, an infectious subvariant of Omicron, has been detected in a significant proportion in India.
While most Omicron cases to date have been asymptomatic or mild, hospital admissions and ICU cases have increased in the current wave and threat level remains unchanged, INSACOG said in its Jan. 10 bulletin released on Sunday.
“Omicron is now community-transmitted in India and has become dominant in multiple metros, where new cases have risen exponentially. BA.2 lineage is in a substantial fraction in India and S-gene dropout-based screening will thus likely to give high false negatives,” it said.
S gene dropout is a genetic variation like that of Omicron.
“The recently reported B.1.640.2 lineage is being tracked. There is no evidence of rapid spread and while it has features of immune escape, it is currently not a variant of concern. So far, no case has been discovered in India,” it said. the INSACOG.
The INSACOG also said in its January 3 bulletin, also released on Sunday, that Omicron is now being transmitted in the community in India and has become dominant in Delhi and Mumbai, where new cases are rising rapidly.
“Further dissemination of Omicron in India is now expected to be through internal transfer, not through foreign travellers, and a revised INSACOG sampling and sequencing strategy is being worked out to address genomic surveillance objectives in the wake of the dynamically changing scenario of virus infection.” according to the INSACOG.
“COVID appropriate behavior and vaccination are the main shields against all form mutations of the SARSCoV-2 virus,” it said.
The INSACOG, under the Union Department of Health and Family Welfare, reports genomic surveillance of SARS CoV -2 nationwide through sequencing of sentinel samples and also detailed state-by-state district analysis for some states.
A total of 1,50,710 samples have been sequenced and 1,27,697 samples have been analyzed so far by the center’s Covid research body.