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Existing diagnostic tests can pick up Omicron, says PGIMER prof

🔴The professor said that residents should continue to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and all eligible individuals must take the vaccine.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: November 30, 2021 2:42:20 pm
A health worker checks body temperature of a traveller as a precaution against the coronavirus. (PTI)

Prof Mini P Singh, the nodal officer of Covid-19 testing at the PGIMER, said that existing diagnostic tests can pick up the Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant of Covid-19.

The variant is believed to have originated in South Africa and has been detected in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, Israel and some European countries. It is characterised by multiple mutations in the spike and nucleocapsid proteins which outnumber the mutations seen in the Delta variant.

Prof Singh added that tricity residents should continue to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and all eligible individuals must take the vaccine.

“Also, residents should avoid mass gatherings and non-essential travel. Patients with respiratory symptoms should get themselves tested for Covid-19 and isolate themselves till the reports are available,” she said.

Dr PVM Lakshmi, a professor of community medicine, said that enhanced surveillance will be crucial in detecting the early warning signs, besides prompt initiation of public health and social measures.

She added that there was no need to panic as no case of the new variant has been reported in India yet.

Notably, the Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare has revised its guidelines for international travellers which will be effective from December 1, 2021. As per these guidelines, travellers from ‘countries at risk’ (including South Africa, Brazil, Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Mauritius, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Singapore, Hong Kong, Israel and countries in Europe including the United Kingdom) will need to undergo real-time PCR on arrival and wait for the results at the airport.

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