New Delhi: There is now clear experimental and clinical data supporting very high immune escape potential of the omicron variant, but initial estimates show the severity of illness being lower than what was seen in previous outbreaks, the Indian SARS-COV-2 Genomics Consortia (INSACOG) said in its latest bulletin.
In India, appropriate public health measures and investigations are being conducted for surveillance of omicron, INSACOG said while noting that globally there appears to be significantly reduced ability of vaccines or prior infection to protect against symptomatic infection by the omicron variant.
“While delta continues to be the most prevalent [variant of concern] globally, the omicron variant has completely displaced it in southern Africa and is on track to become the dominant variant in UK and elsewhere, “INSACOG said in its bulletin released on Wednesday.
The genomic consortium, citing global data, said there is now clear experimental and clinical data supporting very high immune escape potential of the omicron variant, which appears to be the major component of its growth advantage over the delta variant.
“Initial estimates of severity of illness have, however, been lower than seen in previous outbreaks. Whether these initial observations are generalisable to older non-immune subjects is not clear and the threat level is still considered high,” it said.
The INSACOG reports genomic surveillance of SARS-CoV-2 across the country through sequencing of samples from sentinel sites and also detailed state-wise district analysis for some states.
India has more than 900 cases of the omicron variant of coronavirus across 21 states and UTs so far.