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Mumbai: Latest genome sequencing finds one-third samples positive for Omicron

Of the 375 samples sequenced from the community at the civic-run Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Mumbai, 141 or 37.6 per cent were detected with Omicron in Mumbai. In previous genome sequencing, only two per cent of the samples had Omicron.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
December 31, 2021 2:10:27 pm
Outstation passengers being tested on arrival at Mumbai's Dadar station on Thursday afternoon. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

Genome sequencing at the Kasturba Gandhi Hospital, Mumbai, has detected the new variant Omicron in nearly one-third samples it tested – in an indication of community transmission in the state. This comes a day after the Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) detected Omicron in 38 of its samples from Mumbai and Pune in their community surveillance.

Of the 375 samples sequenced from the community at the civic-run Kasturba Gandhi Hospital , 141 or 37.6 per cent were detected with Omicron in Mumbai. Whereas in the previous genome sequencing, only two per cent of the samples had Omicron.

“These findings indicate that Omicron has reached the community-level as the detected patients don’t have any travel history. We have to be very vigilant in this situation,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.

Similarly, as The Indian Express reported, IISER in its latest genome sequencing found that of the 380 samples sequenced from the community from Mumbai and Pune infected, 38 or 10 per cent were found Omicron positive.

This again supports claims of experts that the new variant, which is more transmissible than the Delta variant, has already spread at the community-level and this is what is resulting in the sudden spike in cases across the state, especially in cities like Mumbai and Pune that have high population.

“Considering the one-day doubling rate and spontaneous spike in cases, it was expected that the Omicron will spread at the community level. Now, we are on a war-footing to deal with the outbreak of the third wave of Covid-19,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, member, Covid-19 task force.

On a daily basis, the state has been sending 300 samples from Mumbai and 100 from Pune to IISER for community surveillance. “Nearly, 500 samples are under process for the genome in different labs for it. Earlier also, we had found Omicron in samples but in patients with travel history. However, the recently identified patients don’t have any such travel history which raises the concern about community transmission,” said an officer from IISER.

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