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Omicron Subvariant BA.2 Found In 57 Countries; Cases Rising In India

New Delhi: The WHO on Tuesday said that an Omicron subvariant, which some studies say could be more infectious than the original strain, has been detected in 57 countries, including India, where such cases are rising.

Omicron now has several subvariants — BA.1, BA.1.1, BA.2 and BA.3. The BA.1 and BA.1.1 strains now account for over 96 per cent of all the Omicron sequences uploaded on the GISAID global science initiative, the WHO said.

But cases of BA.2 strain are rising, the WHO said, according to agency reports.

“BA.2-designated sequences have been submitted to GISAID from 57 countries to date,” the WHO said.

Several studies have indicated that BA.2 is more infectious than the original Omicron strain.

Omicron cases with BA.2 strain are also increasing in India.

INSACOG, in a bulletin released last month, said that the BA.2 lineage has been found in a sizeable number of patients in India.

INSACOG stands for Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium. It monitors the COVID-19 virus across the nation to understand its spread and behaviour.

Last week, the Union Health Ministry too warned that BA.2 cases were gradually increasing in India.

Sujeet Kumar Singh, Director, National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), said, “Omicron subvariant BA.2 is more prevalent in comparison to BA.1 variant in India now.’’

He, however, added that BA.3 subvariant has not been detected in India yet.