New Omicron Sub-Variants Spark Alert; Experts to Discuss

New Delhi: Ahead of the festive season, Omicron seems to evolve and web fear for the experts in the country as the citizens gear to celebrate Diwali without any restrictions this year. Scientists are concerned that while India is showing a declining trend in COVID cases, the emergence of the new Omicron variant may dilute all gains the nation achieved so far.

The Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre reported the first case of BF.7 – a sub-variant responsible for the surge in COVID-19 cases in China. Omicron subvariant BF.7 was first detected in Northwest China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The variant is fast spreading and detected in the UK, the US, Australia and Belgium.

State Health Department, Maharashtra detected the XBB variant which is cited to have a growth advantage over BA.2.75 and immune evasive property. The state health bulletin also sounded an alarm on the detection of BA.2.3.20 and BQ.1 variants of the virus for the first time in the country. Meanwhile, Kerala which also detected XBB and XBB-1 —- two new variants of Omicron has tightened preventive measures to control the entry into its ecosystem.

According to INSACOG, Omicron and its sub-lineages continue to be the dominant variant in India The network of govt scientists and labs responsible for genome sequencing is set to convene this week to discuss the threats posed by the new variants detected in the country. Until then experts have advised precautionary measures and COVID-appropriate behaviour as the festive mood swings in. People with co-morbidities are instructed to take extra precautions while visiting public places.

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