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Most Omicron cases detected in J&K recovered

Getting reports late hampers to track spread of variant, setting up of genome sequencing labs need of an hour: Experts

SRINAGAR: Most of the Omicron cases detected in Jammu and Kashmir have already recovered from the disease.

Jammu and Kashmir have so far reported 13 cases of Omicron but reports of most of them were received when the infected persons had already recovered from the disease.

Top health officials who wished not to be named said, that getting the COVID-19 test results to hamper our efforts to track the spread of Omicron.

They said that as of now samples of all positive patients are sent for genome sequencing, if their reports would come in a day or two, it would have been easy to find contacts of the person in whose sample Omicron variant was detected.

“But we are getting reports of the Omicron after two or three weeks when patients are already recovered from the disease, it then becomes difficult to find contacts of the person found positive for a new variant which is highly transmissible,” the officials said.

Experts believe that the Omicron variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is four times more transmissible than the Delta variant of the virus. In addition, it has the potential to infect persons who have recovered from an attack of COVID-19 and who have received one or two doses of the vaccine.

“This virus has a potential to evade the immune system of the body, maybe due to infection or vaccination. People who have this immunity due to infection or vaccine may be protected only from 30 to 60 percent when compared to Delta variant,” they said, adding that apart from higher transmissibility and evasion of immunity, the Omicron variant has a shorter incubation period and infects selectively upper respiratory tract (nose and throat) rather than lungs.

The experts said that most of the persons whose samples were found positive for Omicron had no travel history which means it is in our community so setting up of genome sequencing labs is of utmost importance.

Meanwhile, 13 cases of Omicron have been detected in J-K and among them, five were detected in Kashmir which includes three travelers, one pregnant lady and another patient from Shopian.

Among the eight positive cases, three patients were detected last month who had already recovered when their reports came. The five cases reported on Tuesday include a 40-year-old couple from Channi Himmat, who had returned from Canada on December 24 and were tested for the virus and are admitted to the DRDO hospital, a 32-year-old woman from Trikuta Nagar 42-year-old man from Channi and a 18-year-old boy from Canal Road. They were sampled randomly on December 21, 22 and 24 respectively.

Officials said that Trikuta Nagar and Channi patients are in home isolation while Canal Road boy has been discharged from DRDO hospital and all are stable—(KNO)


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