Amid the rising concerns over the new variant of coronavirus called Omicron, the Union Health Ministry on Friday said that genome sequencing of every sample is not possible.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, NITI Aayog Member of Health Dr VK Paul said, “Genome sequencing of every sample is not possible. It is a surveillance and pandemic assessment and tracking tool, not a diagnostic tool as of now. We can assure sufficient systematic sampling is being undertaken.”
Further, Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research Dr Balram Bhargava today said, “We have been discussing these anti-viral COVID-19 pills. We have found that these pills need to be given very early, even before the diagnosis of the disease. Scientific data is still not supported in a big way that the pills will be useful at the moment.”
Around 101 cases of Omicron variant of COVID-19 so far have been detected across 11 States and Union Territories, informed the government on Friday.
Addressing a press conference, Joint Secretary of Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal said that 32 cases were recorded in Maharashtra, 22 in Delhi, 17 in Rajasthan, 8 each in Karnataka and Telangana, 5 each in Gujarat and Kerala, one each in Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal respectively. He said that the Omicron variant has been found in 91 countries across the world.
“World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that Omicron is spreading faster than the Delta variant in South Africa where Delta circulation was low. It’s likely Omicron will outpace Delta variant where community transmission occurs, WHO added,” Agarwal said.
According to the WHO, the first known confirmed B.1.1.529 virus was from a specimen collected on November 9 this year. On November 26, the WHO named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as ‘Omicron’. The WHO has classified Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’.