About 38 per cent of the total samples analysed at various genome sequencing laboratories in Delhi in the past one week have been detected with Omicron variant of Covid, according to officials documents, as the cases of the new variant saw a record spike in this period in the national capital. The documents shared by official sources also showed that of the 468 samples analysed during December 21-28, the Delta variant of coronavirus was detected in 31 per cent of these samples, and the rest constituted other variants.
These samples were analysed at labs at NCDC, ILBS and LNJP Hospital, the sources said. A senior official in the South East district administration said that out of 14 Omicron cases, seven did not have any travel history. A senior official in the South East district administration said that out of 14 Omicron cases, seven did not have any travel history.
The official also claimed that the new variant has been "spreading in the community", even as he didn't divulge any further details. A senior doctor here, on the condition of anonymity, also claimed that Omicron variant of Covid has "begun to spread in the community" as its carriers are mostly asymptomatic, and hence they do not realise that they have been infected. The person coming in contact also do not get cautioned in absence of symptoms, who in turn transmit it to family members and acquaintances, the doctor added.
A senior doctor here, on the condition of anonymity, also claimed that Omicron variant of Covid has "begun to spread in the community" as its carriers are mostly asymptomatic, and hence they do not realise that they have been infected. The person coming in contact also do not get cautioned in absence of symptoms, who in turn transmit it to family members and acquaintances, the doctor added.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
India has recorded 781 cases of the Omicron variant of coronavirus across 21 states and union territories so far out of which 241 people have recovered or migrated, according to Union health ministry data updated this morning. Delhi recorded the maximum number of 238 cases followed by Maharashtra at 167, Gujarat 73, Kerala 65 and Telangana 62.
The cases of Omicron have reported a significant jump in the last one week, and in view of that, authorities in Delhi on December 22 decided to have genome sequencing done of all samples of daily COVID-19 cases to ascertain if the new variant has spread in the community. At Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), 125 samples were analysed between December 21-28, and over 53 per cent were detected with Omicron variant, and about 56 per cent with Delta variant, the sources said.
Sources at ILBS had on December 20 said that it had a capacity to handle about 1,000 samples per week. The national capital on Wednesday recorded a whopping 923 fresh Covid cases, as the positivity rate again breached the 1 per cent-mark (1.29 per cent).
On Tuesday, the city had registered one death due to coronavirus infection and a massive single-day spike with 496 fresh cases, the highest since June 4, while the positivity rate was 0.89 per cent. Amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the city, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday said many international travellers, who have tested negative at the airport, are testing positive after a few days and infecting their family members during the period."The cases have increased due to international flights. Even during the earlier wave, the cases rose with flights coming in," the minister told reporters. Jain said the Omicron variant of coronavirus is highly transmissible and hinted that it could be the reason behind the recent spike in infections. He asserted that Delhi is fully prepared to deal with the COVID-19 situation.