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Coronavirus Outbreak

Omicron Subvariants BA.5.2, BF.7 Responsible For Latest COVID Outbreak In China: WHO

As of 3 January, 773 sequences from mainland China have been submitted to the GISAID EpiCoV database, with the majority (564 sequences) collected after 1 December 2022

Omicron Subvariants BA.5.2, BF.7 Responsible For Latest COVID Outbreak In China: WHO
Notably, China submitted the genomic data, which China's CDC described as imported as well as locally-acquired cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections

Geneva: The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday (January 4) said that the data submitted by China shows Omicron subvariants BA.5.2 and BF.7 are predominant that are accounting for 97.5 per cent of all local infections, according to the statement released by WHO. Looking at the data, WHO said that they will continue to closely monitor the situation in the People’s Republic of China and globally and urges all countries to continue to be vigilant, to monitor and report sequences, as well as to conduct independent and comparative analyses of the different Omicron sublineages, including on the severity of disease they cause.

Also Read: What Is Omicron’s XBB.1.5 Sub-Variant? Should India Be Worried?

In a statement, WHO said that the Technical Advisory Group on Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) held a meeting with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday and said,

The China CDC analysis showed a predominance of Omicron lineages BA.5.2 and BF.7 among locally acquired infections. BA.5.2 and BF.7 together accounted for 97.5 per cent of all local infections per genomic sequencing.

Notably, China submitted the genomic data, which China’s CDC described as imported as well as locally-acquired cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections. The organisation further said that a few other Omicron sublineages were also detected, albeit in low percentages in China; presently, no new variants of the coronavirus have been found.

According to the statement,

As of 3 January, 773 sequences from mainland China have been submitted to the GISAID EpiCoV database, with the majority (564 sequences) collected after 1 December 2022. Of those, only 95 are labelled as locally acquired cases, 187 as imported cases and 261 do not have this information provided. Of the locally acquired cases, 95% belong to BA.5.2 or BF.7 lineages. This is in line with genomes from travellers from China submitted to the GISAID EpiCoV database by other countries. No new variant or mutation of known significance is noted in the publicly available sequence data.

At this time, the TAG-VE is also evaluating the rapidly increasing proportion of XBB.1.5 in the United States and other countries. Beyond the previous statement, an updated risk – assessment of XBB.1.5 is in progress.

The TAG-VE reiterated the critical need for and importance of additional analysis as well as sharing of sequence data to understand the evolution of SARS-CoV-2 and the emergence of concerning mutations or variants. This should be done regardless of whether a sequence is assigned a Pango lineage or not. This is best accomplished by rapidly and regularly depositing data into publicly accessible databases. Maintaining high levels of representative genomic surveillance across China and globally, annotating genomic sequences with relevant clinical and epidemiological metadata, and rapid sharing of such data are the pillars of timely global risk assessment, WHO added.

The TAG-VE meets regularly and continues to assess the available data on the transmissibility, clinical severity, and immune escape potential of variants, including the potential impact on diagnostics, therapeutics, and the effectiveness of vaccines in preventing infection or severe disease.

Also Read: Second Covid Booster Dose Not Required: Government Sources

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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