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Omicron threat: 30 samples from Maharashtra sent for genomic sequencing so far

While 14 samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, 16 have been sent to Kasturba Hospital Laboratory in Mumbai.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: December 4, 2021 11:46:46 am
The 30 samples sent for genomic surveillance include samples collected both from airport and field surveillance. (File)

A total of 30 samples have been sent so far for genomic sequencing by state health authorities to rule out the Omicron variant.

While 14 samples have been sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, 16 have been sent to Kasturba Hospital Laboratory in Mumbai.

Until Friday morning, as many as 2,821 passengers arriving at Mumbai airport from Omicron high-risk countries were tested with RT-PCR method; two of the samples were found to be positive.

Besides, 224 people out of 11,060 passengers arriving from other countries have also been tested of whom one came out positive.

Additionally, field surveillance of all international passengers who have arrived since November 1 is underway, Dr Pradeep Awate, state surveillance officer, said.

The 30 samples sent for genomic surveillance include samples collected both from airport and field surveillance.

On November 26, World Health Organisation (WHO) named the Covid-19 virus variant detected in South Africa and a few other countries as Omicron, and classified it as a ‘Variant of Concern’.

Experts have expressed possibilities that owing to the genetic modification in the virus, it may possess some specific characteristics.

While transmissibility of the Covid-19 infection seems to have increased because of the new variant, there is still not enough clarity on whether or not it will cause a severe disease and if it will evade immunity provided by vaccines.

More information is expected in the next two weeks’ time or so, experts said.

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