Spike in Omicron’s BA.2.38 Variant Witnessed in Mumbai, Pune: Reports


India recorded 9,923 new COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours with a daily positivity rate of 2.55 per cent, as per the data released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday. Meanwhile, Maharashtra reported 2,345 fresh infections of which more than 1,300 were from Mumbai alone. Two deaths in Mumbai were also recorded on June 20, 2022. As per new reports, BA.2.38 has become the prevailing sub-variant of Omicron strain in Mumbai and Pune.

Dr Rajesh Karyakarte, Maharashtra coordinator for genome sequencing told Indian Express that they have registered the presence of Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 among the samples that have undergone genome sequencing but numbers are still few. “At present, the samples are testing positive for both BA.2 and BA.2.38,” he added.

Maharashtra surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate informed the news portal that the authorities are focusing on genome sequencing and have even asked Mumbai laboratories to send 1,000 samples to the Pune Laboratories.

Reportedly, the BA.2.38 sub-variant has been identified in many sequences on GISAID from India. National Institute of Virology and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research have studied the 117 COVID-19 patients with BA.2.38 and found similar clinical characteristics with the Omicron sub-variant.

Pune has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases since June 01. Several doctors even mentioned that the infected individuals may not be getting themselves tested and also may not be seeking treatment.

Apart from the common symptoms of COVID-19 like fever, cough, body ache, sore throat and headache, people infected with the BA.2.38 sub-variant may also experience upper respiratory tract symptoms. Some may also have diarrhoea.

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