Delta Still Dominant Circulating Strain In India, Says ICMR Scientist

New Delhi: Although the fear of Omicron is looming large, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Saturday said the Delta strain of coronavirus continued to be the dominant circulating strain in India and Omicron had not replaced it yet.

“While Omicron numbers may increase, it may not necessarily cause a heavy burden on the healthcare system. However, states have to be on the guard,” said Dr Samiran Panda, Additional Director-General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Times of India (TOI) reported.

According to Panda, from samples sequenced so far, a majority of the 100 plus Omicron cases in the country were travel-related, adding that the total number of individuals detected in our country with Omicron mutant was too small to draw any inference on community transmission of this variant of SARS-CoV-2. He advised citizens to continue to practice all COVID protocols as a preventive measure and assured them that the current vaccines are effective.

“All that one could say from such a small reported number of individuals infected with Omicron variant in the country is that some of these cases had an indicative history of travel and some had a history of contact with confirmed cases, no plausible exposure could be identified for the rest. It is also important to appreciate that the number of infected individuals’ and ‘cases’ or ‘patients of Omicron’ are not synonymous,” he said.

ICMR stated that all the states should ensure that there was no mass gathering, no non-essential travel within the country or abroad and low-key festivities. It advised states to ensure scaling up vaccination and makeup. ICMR also directed the states to keep health infrastructure ready, TOI reported.

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