Published: Updated On – 12:29 AM, Mon – 20 June 22
Hyderabad: The Omicron variants continue to actively circulate in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana, driving up the daily Covid-19 infections.
Latest genome sequencing data from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) indicates that the three highly contagious variants of Omicron — BA5, BA4 and BA.2.12.1, which are capable of escaping immunity — are currently in the stage of community transmission in Telangana.
The data till June 15 indicates that these variants could be driving the ongoing rise of Covid infections in the State. The BA5 positive cases have now reached 21, while those of BA4 are at 10. The INSACOG genome sequencing has also reported 51 Covid infections of the BA.2.12.1 variant, which had caused the recent surge of infections in the US and Europe.
All the three variants, which are active in Telangana, are highly transmissible and have exhibited the ability to escape the antibodies gained through the Omicron infection. Multiple studies have indicated that BA4 and BA5 have the ability to escape both the vaccine-induced and BA1 infections-induced antibodies.
The BA4 and BA5 variants have shown high transmissibility in South Africa, the US and some European countries. There have been instances in other countries where the two variants managed to infect individuals, who had received the two doses of Covid vaccines. As a result, a booster or precautionary dose has now become important to thwart the progress of both the variants in the community, senior public health officials here have said.
While BA4 and BA5 are highly transmissible, the silver lining, so far, has been that they cause little severe disease. As a result, hospitalisations and mortality, despite the jump in the daily caseload, remained under control in Telangana, the officials said.
Doctors, however, pointed out that there is no long-term data on the impact of frequent Covid reinfection on immunity. To analyse the dominant circulating Covid variant, INSACOG randomly collects at least 5 per cent of the total number of Covid infections among the general population for genome sequencing. It also collects 2 per cent of samples from international passengers at the RGIA.