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New, fast-spreading Omicron variant causes concern in India

Tuesday, July 12, 2022 • Tamil Comments
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A new sub-variant of Omicron, identified as BA.2.75, is causing concern among scientists in India who have begun to look at it as a super contagious mutation over a sudden rise in Covid-19 cases across the country.

While experts believe that the BA.2.75 mutant may have the capability to spread rapidly and escape immunity from vaccines as well as previous infections, it is yet to be established if this particular sub-variant could cause a more severe form of illness. Matthew Binnicker, director of clinical virology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, was quoted as saying by a news agency that it was too early for scientists to come to any conclusion.

However, Binnicker added, “But it does look like, especially in India, the rates of transmission are showing kind of that exponential increase.” Another point of concern is that the BA.2.75 variant has a large number of mutations which are different from previous Omicron variants. Some of these mutations are apparently connected to the spike protein area and may enable the virus to bind with cells better.

A senior official at INSACOG, “We are monitoring the situation and have yet to see any clusters due to the new sub-lineage. The hospitalisation and deaths haven't gone up and that’s a good sign. Hence there’s no need to panic. We have not seen severe disease so far. The WHO statement on BA.2.75 in India might not be completely true.”

It has also been reported that the sub-variant could escape antibodies from vaccines or previous infections owing to changes in the virus’s genetic material. Although vaccines are still considered to be the best bet against the viral infection.

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