A 72-year-old man was found infected with the Omicron variant of the coronavirus on Saturday in Jamnagar, Gujarat, after returning from Zimbabwe, the state’s health department said, according to PTI. His samples were sent for genome sequencing after testing positive for the virus on Thursday.
Zimbabwe has been designated as a country “at risk” in several Indian states due to its proximity to South Africa where the Omicron variant was first discovered.
This is the third case of Omicron in India. On Thursday, two people in Karnataka were found to be infected with the new strain. One of them was a South African who had flown from India, and the other patient had no travel history.
The World Health Organization listed Omicron, also known as the B.1.1.529 strain, as a variant of concern on November 27. One variant of concern has the highest threat perception among other coronavirus variants due to its increased transmissibility, infectivity or resistance. vaccines.
On Saturday, the 72-year-old Zimbabwean returnee was isolated and the area where he resides was converted into a micro containment zone, ANI reported.
“In the zone [where the patient stays], we will do the research and testing of people, âsaid Manoj Aggarwal, additional chief secretary of the Gujarat Department of Health and Family Welfare.
According to the World Health Organization, the Omicron variant has around 45-52 mutations with 26-32 spike protein mutations. Spike proteins help a virus enter the host cell. Thus, the higher number of mutations of the Omicron variant helps the virus to enter human cells faster.
Some mutations that were found in the previously detected Alpha, Delta, Gamma and Beta variants are also present in the Omicron strain. Initial data suggests that Omicron has a faster growth rate and higher transmissibility compared to other variants. However, more evidence is needed to confirm these characteristics.
So far, this variant has not resulted in an increase in cases with severe symptoms or an increase in the death rate. South Africa has noted a slight increase in cases requiring hospitalization. However, it could also be due to an increase in the number of cases and not to increased virulence.