Sentinel sequencing of 324 Covid positive samples taken from the community between December 29, 2022 and January 7, 2023 has revealed the presence of all Omicron variants like BA.2 and its sub-lineages, including BA.2.75, XBB (37), BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 (5) among others, the health ministry said on Monday.
No mortality or rise in transmission were reported in the areas where these variants were detected, the ministry said in a statement.
Besides, XBB (11), BQ.1.1 (12) and BF7.4.1 (1) were the main variants detected in positive samples of 50 international passengers which have been genome sequenced so far.
Between December 29 and January 7, the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) sentinel sites referred 324 COVID-19 positive samples for sequencing to 22 INSACOG labs, it said.
“Sentinel sequencing of these positive samples lifted from the community revealed presence of all the Omicron variants like BA.2 and its sub-lineages, including BA.2.75, XBB (37), BQ.1 & BQ.1.1 (5),” the statement stated.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has initiated random testing of international travellers arriving at various airports since December 24, 2022.
Since then, 13,57,243 International passengers arrived in India from 7,786 flights at various airports out of which 29,113 randomly selected passengers were tested by RT-PCR.
A total of 183 samples were found positive which were subsequently sent for whole genome sequencing to 13 INSACOG labs.
Sequencing of 50 samples revealed omicron and omicron sub-lineages, including recombinant variants. XBB (11), BQ.1.1 (12) and BF7.4.1 (1) were the main variants detected in these samples of international passengers, the statement said.
The Union health ministry is keeping a close watch on the COVID-19 situation in various states through the IDSP network particularly on the transmission and hospitalisation trends, it said.