Latest genome sequencing finds one-third of samples positive for Omicron

Genome sequencing at Kasturba Gandhi Hospital in Mumbai detected the new Omicron variant in nearly a third of the samples it tested, indicating community transmission in the state. It comes a day after the Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) detected Omicron in 38 of its samples from Mumbai and Pune as part of their community surveillance.

Of the 375 samples sequenced from the community at Kasturba Gandhi Municipal Hospital, 141 or 37.6% were detected with Omicron in Mumbai. Whereas in the previous genome sequencing, only two percent of the samples had Omicron.

“These results indicate that Omicron has reached the community level because the patients detected have no travel history. We have to be very vigilant in this situation, ”said additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani.

Likewise, as reported by The Indian Express, IISER in its latest genome sequencing found that of 380 samples sequenced from the infected Mumbai and Pune community, 38 or 10 percent tested positive for Omicron.

This again confirms the claims of experts that the new variant, which is more transmissible than the Delta variant, has already spread to the community level and this is what is leading to a sudden increase in cases across the state, in especially in cities like Mumbai and Pune which have high population.

“Given the doubling rate in one day and the spontaneous spike in cases, it was expected that Omicron would spread to the community level. Now we are on a war footing to deal with the outbreak of the third wave of Covid-19, ”said Dr Shashank Joshi, member of the Covid-19 working group.

Every day, the state sent 300 samples from Mumbai and 100 from Pune to the IISER for community surveillance. “Almost 500 samples are being processed for the genome in different laboratories. Also earlier, we found Omicron in samples but in patients with a history of travel. However, recently identified patients do not have such a travel history, which raises concerns about community transmission, ”said an IISER officer.