Odisha reports new Omicron sub-variant, first in country

“The XBB and BM.1.1 are fast replacing the other Omicron sub-variants that were dominant in the State. The share of XBB now stood at 21 per cent (pc) and that of BM.1.1 rose to 15 pc.

Published: 20th October 2022 06:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th October 2022 06:44 AM   |  A+A-

A health worker conducts COVID-19 Rapid Antigen test at the district administration office, coronavirus

Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: A second generation sub-lineage of Omicron - BM.4.1.1 has emerged in Odisha, a first for the country, amid the growing concern over more transmissible XBB and BM.1.1 sub-variants of SARS-CoV2 detected in five states.  

Sources at the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG) said 18 new BM.4.1.1 cases, part of the ‘new class’ of Omicron sub-variant have been detected from 149 samples sequenced in two labs of the State in last one month, evoking similar interest among the surveillance authorities as XBB variant. 
Apart from BM.4.1.1, at least 32 cases of XBB, 22 cases of BM.1.1, four cases of BM.1.1.1, six cases of BL.1, two cases of BL.4 and 22 cases of BA.2.75.2 have been detected during the period. 

While the XBB variant is claimed to be more infectious and has been behind the surge in parts of South Asia, especially Singapore and Hong Kong, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is examining the clinical significance of the BM.4.1.1 sub-variant.

“The XBB and BM.1.1 are fast replacing the other Omicron sub-variants that were dominant in the State. The share of XBB now stood at 21 per cent (pc) and that of BM.1.1 rose to 15 pc. We have to look for the result of the next batch of sequencing to ascertain more about BM.4.1.1,” said an INSACOG scientist. 
Since the emerging variants are becoming more transmissible and better able to escape immunity, the scientist said, the new variant needs to be closely monitored. There are no details about the samples whether they had any travel history or the virus mutated itself within the State, he maintained. 

The State, however, has seen a marginal rise in new cases, mostly from Khurda, Cuttack, Sundargarh, Puri and Sambalpur. The number of infections that had come down to 49 on October 5 rose to 103 on October 12.  Predicting a rise in cases during the winter and festive season, the experts have advised people to continue practicing Covid appropriate behaviour and persons with comorbidities to take extra precaution while visiting public places.

State health authorities claimed a severe disease from these variants is highly unlikely as despite slight rise in numbers there is very less hospitalisation. “We are examining the new variants. People must not ignore flu-like symptoms and should get medical advice,” said Public Health Director Dr Niranjan Mishra.

As many as 88 samples from Khurda, Puri, Nayagarh and Keonjhar were processed for sequencing at the Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) and 61 samples from Puri, Angul, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Nabarangpur, Sonepur and Sundargarh were sequenced at the Institute of Life Sciences (ILS), Bhubaneswar.


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