Maharashtra reports four cases of B.A. 4 variant and three cases of B.A. 5 variant

MUMBAI:

In a first instance, four cases of B.A. 4 variant and three cases of B.A. 5 variant of Omicron detected in Maharashtra, State health department said on Saturday.

A senior official of the health department said that all of patients had only mild symptoms and were treated at home. The official further said that four patients developed the infection of B.A. 4 variant while others have contracted the B.A. 5.

He said that four of them are men and three women. Meanwhile, the state has recorded 529 new cases of Covid-19 but no virus-related death in the last 24 hours. The total tally of infections in the state has reached to 78,85,394, while the death toll stands at 1,47,858.

The official said that the new variant has been identified in WGS carried out by the Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) and has been confirmed by the Indian Biological Data Centre (IBDC) Faridabad.

The World Health Organization said Wednesday that Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 have been detected in more than a dozen countries and stimulated fuel sporadic Covid outbreaks across the world, but the heavily mutated strains are still circulating at very low levels.

Omicron, specifically BA.4 and BA.5, is driving the upsurge in South Africa, while BA.2 is dominant worldwide.  The relatively high population immunity from vaccination and previous waves is keeping COVID-19 hospitalization and deaths rates at a comparably low level compared to previous waves, it said.

The BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants driving up deaths and hospitalizations in places with high immunity is a warning that the global response needs to get ahead of future Variants of Concern. We must invest in research and development to update our tools, rolling out vaccines, tests and treatments to reduce and monitor transmission, while mitigating the impact of the pandemic and protecting essential services. Such actions should underpin an endgame strategy for the pandemic.

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