The prevalence of Omicron sub-lineage BA.2 is gradually increasing in India, said Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), here on Thursday.
Addressing a press conference held by the Health Ministry, Singh stated that the Omicron sub-variant BA.2 is now more prevalent in India than the BA.1 variant, and that the BA.3 sub-variant has not yet been detected in India.
“Earlier, the BA.1 variant was dominant among the samples collected from the travellers. Now in community settings, we have found that the BA.2 sub-variant is gradually increasing,” he said.
Speaking of rising Omicron cases, Singh stated that, of the total genome sequencing reports received so far, rising Omicron cases have been discovered in the month of January.
Of the total reports received, 1,292 Omicron cases were found in December last year, whereas the number of Delta cases was over 17,000, he said.
In January so far, 9,672 Omicron cases have been found against 4,779 Delta cases, which includes 3,201 AYC variant and 1,578 Delta variant, Singh said.
Mainly three states – Maharashtra, Odisa, and West Bengal – have reported the Delta variant on the basis of genome sequencing, said Singh, adding that it does not mean that only the Omicron variant is being reported everywhere.
He emphasised that the Delta variant is still available. In terms of Covid fatalities, he stated that those who have not been immunised and those who have comorbidities are at a higher risk.
“Around 64 per cent of those who died in Delhi were from the unvaccinated group with major comorbid population,” he added.
ICMR chief Balram Bhargava said that vaccines have remained beneficial for India.
“Vaccine reduces deaths considerably in the vaccinated population compared to the unvaccinated individuals. Around 95 per cent adult population in the country have received the first vaccine dose, while 74 per cent have been fully vaccinated,” said Bhargava, as he urged the states lagging behind in vaccination to ramp up the drive.