Dominant variant still Omicron BA.2, say experts in Pune

Pune: With Maharashtra reporting cases of Omicron’s BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, experts say the dominant variant is still BA.2. According to experts, so far only 10 percent of samples have tested for the two subtypes of omicrons.

States have been directed to send more samples, which are RT-PCR positive, for genome testing to laboratories across Maharashtra as per the Centre’s direction.

As of Wednesday, 25 cases have tested positive for Omicron’s ba.4 and ba.5 subvariants in Maharashtra. Of these, 15 are from Pune according to the state health department.

Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, Head of the Department of Microbiology, BJ Medical College said that the presence of BA.4 and BA.5 type samples is about 10 per cent of the samples analyzed.

“In the final set of 48 samples, there were five patients who tested positive for these variants. Hardly any delta samples have been observed,” he said, adding that laboratories are directed to send such samples which test positive for antigen test for RT-PCR test.

“There are different categories in which samples are selected for genome sequencing. The cycle threshold (Ct) value of samples should be less than 25, only then it is selected for genome sequencing. It takes about a week to analyze the samples. We at BJ Medical can analyze at least 800 samples in a week,” Dr.

According to state health department officials, most of the patients who tested positive for the variant have been put under home isolation.

State Monitoring Officer Dr Pradeep Awate said that in the sample analysis it has been found that BA-4 and BA-5 are not dominant.

Dr Awate said, “As per the information provided by BJ Medical College Pune, in the whole genome sequencing (WGS) of recent samples in the state, BA.2 is the most prominent variant, followed by BA.2.38.”

State Joint Director of Health Services (Procurement Cell and Hospitals) and Additional Charge as Director of Health Services Dr. Nitin Ambedkar said that at present the analysis of samples shows that the prevalence of BA.2 is the most prominent variant after BA. . 2.38.

“BA.2 is followed by BA.2.38. There are some cases of BA.4 and BA.5. The cases of the delta variant are less,” said Dr Ambedkar.

“This time more samples will undergo genome sequencing to understand the rise in cases,” he said.

BA.4 and BA.5 type of cases in Maharashtra

Pune – 15

Mumbai – 5

Nagpur – 3

Thane – 2

Total – 25

Source: State Health Department

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