Telangana on alert over new COVID variant

A meeting on various aspects of Omicron, the new variant (coronavirus) of concern, will be held by the Health department on Sunday. The State government has already received an alert regarding the new variant from the Central government.

The countries at risk, possible ways in which the new variant can make its way into the State, airports where passengers from the countries at risk land in India, screening at airports, and other aspects would be discussed at the meeting.

Health Minister Harish Rao would head the meeting with senior officials of the department. Collection samples for genome sequencing, vaccination, preparations to handle additional cases, too, would come up for discussion.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has termed the new Variant of Concern (B.1.1.529) as Omicron.

It was learnt that top officials have been tasked to gather all information regarding the new Variant of Concern (VoC). Since vaccination is one of the ways to battle coronavirus, the immunization coverage, methods to vaccinate more people, would be discussed.

Mr. Harish Rao had earlier directed Health officials to vaccinate everyone in the State by the end of December.

Since Friday, people have started coming across news about the new variant.

“This variant has a large number of mutations, some of which are a matter of concern. Preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of re-infection with this variant compared to other VoCs,” as per the WHO.

Genome sequencing

WHO has suggested countries to enhance surveillance and sequencing efforts to better understand circulating SARS-CoV-2 variants, submit complete genome sequences and associated metadata to a publicly available database like GISAID.

In Telangana, samples are collected from COVID patients admitted at government and private hospitals. Genome sequencing is done at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB).

Principal Secretary of Health Department Syed Ali Murtaza Rizvi, Director of Public Health Dr. G. Srinivasa Rao, Director of Medical Education Dr. K. Ramesh Reddy and others would take part in the meeting.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 2:13:42 PM |

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