Insacog to review genome data amid rising Covid cases


India’s Covid genome sequencing facility, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (Insacog), will review data to look into reasons for “breakthrough” Covid infections and also check on possibility of virus sub-lineages or new variants. The review meeting is scheduled on Friday, sources in the Health Ministry told BusinessLine.

Insacog is jointly initiated by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The review assumes significance in the backdrop of rising Covid cases in the country.

‘No reason to worry’

“We will review the genome sequencing data on Friday and see as to why the breakthrough infections are happening … (Will) see if there is some recombinant variant or not,” an Insacog official said, adding that last reviews have shown that there is no variant of concern in India. “There is no reason for worry,” he said.

India on Wednesday recorded 8,822 fresh infections; the daily positivity rate shot up to 2 per cent and the weekly positivity rate stood at 2.35 per cent. Over 5,700 recoveries were reported on a 24-hour basis. There were 15 deaths, including 7 reconciliation from Kerala, two from Delhi, four from Maharashtra, one each from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Officials said India now has BA.4 and BA.5, in addition to the BA.2 variant which has a slightly higher transmissibility as compared to the other Omicron sub-lineages. According to Satish Koul, Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, there is evidence of a new sub-variant or sub-strain of Omicron in the community. “And it is demonstrating immune escape, meaning evading vaccine-induced immunity and immunity gained with previous Covid infections,” he said.

Lower hospitalisation

Hospitalisations have been lower, despite increase in cases. The current trend shows cases being limited to metros and big cities with a high population density, said health officials. However, people who are getting infected these days are immunised and have a common cold and a mild influenza-like illness, with lower hospitalisation rates.

Koul said in the last two to three weeks, the number of people with Covid symptoms are being seen in the OPD on a regular basis with “most mild symptoms”. “Most patients do not require hospitalisation and the total duration of the illness is around 5-6 days. Treatment is generally symptomatic,” he added.

Published on

June 15, 2022

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