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The detection of BA.2, a sub-lineage of Omicron variant, in almost 80 per cent of the Covid-19 cases sent for genome sequencing by laboratories in Kolkata has raised concern among the city dwellers at a time when India is caught in the throes of a rapidly surging coronavirus cases.

The samples were sent for genome sequencing between December 22 to 28 and nearly 80 per cent of them were found BA.2 positive with CT level below 30, indicating high viral load.

In the samples sent by one laboratory, 34 Covid-positive samples were found with BA.2. One sample was Omicron BA.1 and eight were Delta and Delta plus. Of the 17 Covid-positive samples sent by another lab, 14 were Omicron and belonged to the BA.2 lineage and the rest Delta. Findings on the 50 samples sent by the third lab showed that 35 were BA.2.

the findings of the genome sequencing are indicative of BA.2 being the sub-lineage that is dominantly circulating in the community in Kolkata and adjoining areas. It is possible that BA.2 is causing the local cluster infection. Even as this sub-lineage is different from its other siblings, genetically it belongs to the same family and hence there is no significant difference in the clinical course of the disease.

almost 70% of the samples tested positive to Omicron, mostly of the BA.2 lineage, this was a week ago hence the presence of Omicron is likely to have increased manifold by now.

Earlier in December, the government had decided to send all positive samples with CT value under 30 for genome-sequencing to detect community transmission of Omicron. the decision was however reversed a week later when it was clear that community transmission of Omicron had begun.


10 Steps of Hand Hygiene to keep Covid-19 at bay

1. Wet hands first.

2. Use warm water (avoid very hot water to reduce skin irritation).

3. Apply soap and lather up.

4. Rub hands together vigorously and by covering all surfaces (in between fingers, top of hand, wrists) for at least 15 seconds (tip: sing “happy birthday song” twice to yourself).

5. Clean under fingernails, using the soap and water.

6. Rinse hands with warm water.

7. Dry thoroughly with a disposable towel (do not use the patient’s hand towels).

8. Use towel to turn off faucet.

9. Use towel to open door.

10. Throw disposable towel in trash