Updated: May 29, 2022 7:37:10 am
In a first for Maharashtra, seven people have tested positive for the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariant of the Omicron strain of coronavirus in Pune. State health authorities have said that the patients were stable and there was no need for hospitalization.
According to the latest report of the Whole Genomic Sequencing conducted in coordination with the B.J. Medical College Pune, 4 patients of B.A. 4 variants and 3 patients of B.A. 5 variants have been found in Pune. All of them — four men and three women — are residents of the city.
Of these, four are above 50 years of age and two are in the 20-40 age bracket while one is below ten years, Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, told The Indian Express. Two of them have a history of traveling to South Africa and Belgium, while three have travelled to Kerala and Karnataka. Two others have no travel history. All except the 9-year-old have received both doses of a Covid vaccine, while one has also taken a booster shot. All of them showed mild symptoms and were treated under home isolation, Dr Awate added. He also informed that all these persons were in Pune between May 4 and 18
The new variant has been identified by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and has been confirmed by the Indian Biological Data Center (IBDC) in Faridabad. These Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 are circulating globally and have been associated with the fifth Covid wave in South Africa. Recently, USA and Europe have also reported cases of the subvariant. In India, the first case was detected in Hyderabad through the genomic surveillance programme.
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BA. 4 and 5 are of the Omicron sub lineage which increases the rate of transmission of the virus to certain extent according to international experience, Dr Awate said.
“After detecting mutations of Kappa and Delta variant of SARS-CoV2 virus, B J 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 Indian Express. “We are keeping a watch and our initial clinical study shows that there was no requirement for oxygen or hospitalization. However, while there is no need for panic, we have to keep a close watch on the hospitalization rate,” he added.
As of Saturday, there are 2,772 active cases in the state. According to the state health department’s report, there are 312 active cases in Pune, and 1,929 in Mumbai. There are 310 cases in Thane.
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