Omicron Covid variant threat: Medical experts in Kerala call to increase genome sequencing samples

Sajeev Kumar | | Updated on: Dec 02, 2021
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The experts also suggested administering the booster dose of vaccine to the public

Medical experts have requested the Kerala government to increase the number of samples sent for genome sequencing considering the fast spread of the Omicron variant in several infected countries.

The State has already started collecting samples from each district for genetic stratification and its number should be enhanced before sending it to the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, New Delhi.

TS Anish, Associate Professor, Community Medicine, Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram said the ICMR has recommended five per cent of the RT-PCR tests should go for genetic sequencing. In the case of a surge in cases, the country could not go to analyse the samples sent from various States.

“Kerala is one of the few States going for routine genetic sequencing study at the Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology,” he added.

Also read: The daily dose: December 2, 2021

Quoting the reports made by World Health Organization and South African medical experts, Anish said the State should be extra vigilant in the wake of reports that the Omicron variant is rapidly spreading through the air and it has become the dominant variant of coronavirus.

The experts also suggested administering the booster dose of vaccine to the public to contain the virus spread. Though the decision on the booster dose has to be taken by the Centre, the government should discuss the issue in the meetings convened by the Centre considering the urgency of the matter.

Government’s role

In a report, the experts suggested to the government that the potential for diffusion could be determined by the possibility of rapid transmission through the air. The government should ensure wearing masks by the people in public places and avoid crowding. It should also encourage functions and activities in opens spaces to get rid of the virus, the report added.

As per reports, Omicron is five times faster than Delta and the Micronutrients of the new variant can spread the disease to an average of 20 or 30 people, Anish added.

Also read: Omicron Covid variant: Experts urge wearing masks, physical distancing to prevent next wave

Fathahudeen, Professor and Head of Pulmonary Division, Government Medical College, Ernakulam said that the Omicron virus is not detected in India so far and it is only a matter of time to have its presence in the country. We know only a little about the Omicron virus with high transmissibility. However, there is no need for panic as vaccines will give basic protection from any strain of coronavirus by reducing the severity of the disease and mortality rates.

With coronavirus is circulating in the country, he said that the need of the hour is to strictly adhere to Covid protocols by wearing masks in public places, avoid crowding and practicing social distancing especially with the opening up of economic activities in the country. On administering booster dose, Fathahudeen said that it should be offered to people with co-morbidities and above 60 years of age.

Published on December 02, 2021

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