VIJAYAWADA: AY.12, a new sub-lineage of Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, has become a cause of concern for the State as 18 cases of the variant have been reported in the last one week.
Genome sequencing of random samples sent periodically to the designated labs of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) from RT PCR labs in the State, has reportedly revealed the presence of the new sub-lineage AY.12.
However, health officials said they are yet to receive any report from the Centre with regard to AY.12, but they are continuing to implement measures to combat Covid-19 irrespective of variants.
The first AY.12 variant case was reported in Pauri Garhwal district of Uttarakhand. In Andhra Pradesh, there has been no official confirmation as to where the first AY.12 case was detected and the total number of cases reported.
A weekly bulletin dated August 23 of the INSACOG stated that the AY.12 variant is responsible for a surge in breakthrough infections in Israel, but the functional impact of changes between Delta and AY.12 variants is not known yet, though the two appear to be very similar at a molecular level.
According to the INSACOG bulletin, many cases in India, earlier classified as Delta, are now reclassified as AY.12. However, since the AY.12 definition is inconsistent, it will take some time to get the actual number of cases.
“Delta is the major Variant of Concern (VoC) in India at this time. AY.12, a reassigned sub-lineage of Delta, is being seen in many States, but the numbers need a closer examination,” it said.
In the subsequent bulletin issued on August 30, it said Delta continues to be the dominant lineage in India even after reclassification. Based on high stringency reclassification by the INSACOG, the total number of Delta sub-lineage (AY.1 to AY.12) in India is only 856 from all samples analysed, which is much less than what is reported on some global websites.
“It is specifically noted that the expanding phylogenetic cluster of AY.12 that was first noted in Israel, is not yet seen in India. Similar sequences that are also being classified as AY.12 at low stringency, do not have the same epidemiological significance,” the INSACOG said.
Speaking to TNIE, Andhra Medical College principal and Covid-19 Nodal Officer PV Sudhakar said the Delta variant was found to have several mutations and AY.12 is one such mutation.
“We are yet to get any information regarding AY.12 variant,” he said.
According to Dr Sudhakar, 80% of Covid cases are Delta and its transmissibility is high compared to previous variants.
With regard to AY.12 variant, clinical studies are still in progress to know the extent of its transmissibility and impact. Hence, it is advisable to follow CAB strictly to keep the virus at bay, he said.
‘It will take time to get actual number of cases’
According to the INSACOG bulletin, many cases in India, earlier classified as Delta, are now reclassified as AY.12. It will take time to get the actual number of AY.12 cases