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COVID-19: First Indian study provides evidence of Omicron variant's community transmission


NEW DELHI: Most of the Omicron variant infected patients of COVID-19 during the last week of December 2021 had no travel history which indicates that there was eventual community transmission, according to the study conducted by the Department of Clinical Virology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, New Delhi.

"The respiratory specimen of all RT-PCR confirmed positive cases between November 25 -December 23, 2021, collected from five districts of Delhi were subjected to whole-genome sequencing. Complete demographic and clinical details were also recorded. Hence, we analysed the formation of local and familial clusters and eventual community transmission," the study noted.

The study also states that around 60.9 percent of COVID-19 infected people showed a community spread.

"Out of the 264 cases during this study period, 68.9 percent were identified as Delta variant and its sub-lineages while 31.06 percent were Omicron variant with BA.1 as the predominant sub-lineage (73.1 percent)," it further read.

It stated that most of the Omicron cases were asymptomatic (n=50.61 percent) and did not require any hospitalizations.

"A total of 72 (87.8 percent) cases were fully vaccinated. Around 39.1 percent had a history of travel or contacts while 60.9 percent showed a community transmission," it added.

The study shows a steep increase in the daily progression of Omicron cases with its preponderance in the community which was observed from 1.8 percent to 54 percent.

As per the interpretation of the study, this is among the first from India to provide the evidence of community transmission of Omicron of coronavirus infection with significantly increased breakthrough infections, decreased hospitalization rates, and a lower rate of symptomatic infections among individuals with high seropositivity against SARS-CoV-2 infections.