India confirms presence of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants

Edited By: Rustam Roy
New Delhi Updated: May 22, 2022, 10:15 PM(IST)

A man from Telangana has tested positive for the BA.5 Omicron variant Photograph:( AFP )

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INSACOG said a 19-year-old woman in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu was detected with the B.4 variant.

Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics(INSACOG) on Sunday confirmed the presence of BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants in India.

The health body said a 19-year-old woman in India's southern state of Tamil Nadu was detected with the B.4 variant. The patient showed mild symptoms and was fully vaccinated, it said. INSACOG added that the patient had "no travel history".

Earlier, a South African traveller was reported with the BA.4 subvariant at Hyderabad airport.

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Informing further India's health body said an 80-year-old man from Telangana had tested positive for the BA.5 Omicron variant. The patient had shown mild symptoms and was fully vaccinated with no travel history, it said.

Contact tracing of the BA.4 and BA.5 patients has been undertaken, INSACOG said. The BA.4 subvariant was first detected in South Africa in January this year and BA.5 was reported in February.

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The World Health Organisation(WHO) had informed last month that Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 were responsible for spike in coronavirus cases in South Africa as it urged people to get vaccinated.

The UN health agency had said  sub-lineages "have acquired a few additional mutations that may impact their characteristics."

The  BA.4 has spread to several countries including the UK, US, Switzerland and Botswana among other nations. The BA.5 has similarly spread to Hong Kong, Australia, Israel including other countries worldwide.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had said it was "too soon to know whether these new sub-variants can cause more severe disease than other Omicron sub-variants." 

(With inputs from Agencies)

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