For the first time in Maharashtra, seven people have tested positive for the BA.4 and BA.5 variant of the Omicron strain of coronavirus in Pune. State health authorities said the patients were in stable condition and no need for hospital treatment.
According to the latest report on whole-genome sequencing performed in coordination with BJ Pune Medical College, 4 patients with 4 BA variants and 3 patients with 5 BA variants were found in Pune. All of them – four men and three women – are residents of the city.
Of those, four are over the age of 50 and two are in the 20-40 age group while one is under ten, Dr Pradeep Await, a state monitoring officer, told the Indian Express. Two of them have a history of traveling to South Africa and Belgium, while three have traveled to Kerala and Karnataka. Two others have no travel history. Everyone but the 9-year-old received two doses of the Covid vaccine, while one of them also took a booster. Dr. Awati added that all of them showed mild symptoms and were treated in home isolation. He also reported that all these people were in Pune between May 4 and May 18
The new variant was identified by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and confirmed by the Indian Biodata Center (IBDC) in Faridabad. These Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants circulate globally and have been associated with the fifth Covid wave in South Africa. Recently, the USA and Europe have also reported cases of variant. In India, the first case was detected in Hyderabad through a genetic surveillance programme.
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BA. Dr. Awati said 4 and 5 are of the Omicron sub-strain which increases the transmission rate of the virus to a certain extent according to the international experience.
“Following the detection of Kappa and Delta mutations from the SARS-CoV2 virus, BJ Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital coordinated the identification of BA.4 and BA.5 for the first time across samples in Pune,” Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, state coordinator for genome sequencing, told the newspaper. Indian Express. “We are monitoring, and our initial clinical study shows that neither oxygen nor hospitalization was required. However, while there is no need to panic, we have to keep a close eye on the rate of hospitalization.”
As of Saturday, there are 2,772 active cases in the state. As per the state health ministry report, there are 312 active cases in Pune and 1,929 in Mumbai. There are 310 cases in Thane.