New Delhi: The highly contagious Omicron with three sub-variants is replacing the previously dominant Delta strain in India, increasing the daily number of COVID-19 cases in the country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the Omicron variant (parent Pango lineage b.1.1.529) comprises three lineages (ba.1, ba.2 and ba.3). While ba.1 and ba.3 have a 69–70 deletion in the spike protein, ba.2 does not.
Among the three sublineages, scientists from the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) of the Department of Biotechnology in India have noted a significant presence of both ba.1 and ba.2 in the gene tests conducted in the country. BA.1, in particular, is co-circulating with Delta and this is also shifting to Maharashtra and many other states. Media reports say that BA.3 has not yet been detected in the country.
Omicron, first detected in South Africa and Botswana at the end of November 2021, has been detected in more than 100 countries and all seven continents, according to open access data sharing platform GISAID.
Omicrons are involved in the upregulation of a unique mix of amino acid changes (clade GrA, lineages b.1.1529 and lineages ba.1 and ba.2), which were previously identified to affect receptor binding and antibody escape.
first published:Jan. 10, 2022, 6:03 p.m.