The existence of BA.4 and BA.5 COVID-19 variants in India has been confirmed by the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG). These are the first occurrences of these subvariants of the Omicron strain to be documented in the country. Both patients are from Tamil Nadu and Telangana, and neither had a history of travel.
“A 19-year-old female in Tamil Nadu has been found infected with the BA.4 variant of SARS-CoV-2. The patient has shown only mild clinical symptoms and has been fully vaccinated. The patient had no travel history. Before this, a South African traveler was reported positive for the BA.4 variant on arrival at Hyderabad airport,” the INSACOG press note said.
— ANI (@ANI) May 22, 2022
In Telangana, an 80-year-old man tested positive for the BA.5 subtype SARS-CoV-2. The patient has fairly moderate clinical signs and has received all of his vaccinations. The patient had no prior travel experience.
Contact tracing of the BA.4. and BA.5 patients is being done as a precaution, according to the genome sequencing organisation.
The teen has recovered and is currently doing well, according to Tamil Nadu health officials. Officials with the Health Department have warned the public not to panic, stating that individuals who came into contact with the patient were unaffected. “Heath Secretary J Radhakrishnan and senior department officials visited her Friday night and she was ok. She was fully vaccinated,” said state health minister Ma Subramanian on Saturday.
The novel subvariants were first discovered in South Africa and have now been discovered in nearly 20 nations. The new strains appear to be more contagious than the original Omicron strain, although not causing a more severe infection. BA.4 and BA.5 are currently being monitored by the World Health Organization to see if they will eventually supersede BA.2 as the main strain worldwide.
According to a recent study that has yet to be peer-reviewed, the new strains have the ability to escape immunity produced by past COVID-19 infection and vaccination.