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8 cases of Omicron variant detected in Maharashtra, creates panic

WHO
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Nagpur: Total of eight cases of the omicron variant were detected in Maharashtra, as per the state health ministry. Seven cases have been reported from Pune on Sunday, while one more case was reported from Mumbai on Saturday.

A 34-year-old man from Kalyan-Dombivli with a travel history to South Africa had tested positive for the virus. India has reported a total of 21 cases of the Omicron variant, with nine cases from Jaipur, two from Karnataka and one each from Gujarat and Delhi. The state public health department said all seven cases have been reported in the Pune Metropolitan region.

A 44-year-old woman who flew from Lagos in Nigeria to meet her brother in Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal area along with her two daughters has tested positive for Omicron. The two daughters and her brother have been tested positive for the same.

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The officials have also claimed that the treatments are working on the omicron variant cases and are responding well to it. Of the six people, three of them are under the age of 18 and hence didn’t take the vaccine. The variant has been detected in 38 countries across the globe but no deaths have been reported as of now, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The U.S. and Australia became the latest countries to confirm locally transmitted cases of the variant.

What are the symptoms of the Omicron variant?

South Africa’s National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has said that “currently no unusual symptoms have been reported following infection with the B.1.1.529 variant.” The health body also added that those detected with the new variant are asymptomatic.

What are the risks related to Omicron?

Scientists claim that Omicron appears to have a high number of mutations, nearly 30 in the virus’ spike protein which could be easily transmissible.

The WHO said that “preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant,” as compared to other variants.
Are there any cases in India?

No, as of now there are no cases of the Omicron variant in India. However, the central government has said that there will be vigorous screening of international passengers coming from South Africa.

Mumbai Mayor Kishori Pednekar has said that all the passengers coming to Mumbai from South Africa will be quarantined. Other than this, Gujarat has also made the RT-PCR test mandatory for the international passengers coming in the state.

The new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 has been red-flagged by scientists globally over an alarming high number of spike mutations which would increase its resistance to the vaccines, increase transmissibility and lead to more severe symptoms.

The variant has 50 mutations overall, including more than 30 on the spike protein alone. According to Director of the UCL Genetics Institute, Francois Balloux, the new variant may have evolved from a single patient- possibly a chronic infection of an immuno-compromised person. The strain has spread to nearby countries, including Botswana, where even the fully vaccinated people have been infected. Over 100 cases have been linked to this variant till now in the country.

Epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding tweeted, “What is more worrying is the patients were in separate rooms, suggesting the variant is airborne. “… looks like vaccine evasion could be real with this variant… and yes, it is very airborne. Hotel guests were in different rooms across the hallway. Environmental samples found the virus in 25 of 87 swabs across both rooms.”

    DRISHTI SHARMA

    DRISHTI SHARMA

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