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Omicron’s BA.2 lineage found in 82% COVID-19 samples in India

The BA.2 lineage differs from BA.1 in its genetic sequence, including some amino acid differences in the spike protein and other proteins. Studies so far have shown that BA.2 has a growth advantage over BA.1 but whether it is capable of causing more severe disease is yet to be conclusively established

February 23, 2022 / 07:05 PM IST

The BA.2 lineage of the Omicron variant has been found in nearly 82 percent of the samples examined from COVID-19 patients across the country over the last month, top sources in the government’s COVID genome sequencing network have told Moneycontrol.

Officials attached with INSACOG said that the proportion of BA.2 was 5 percent in samples subjected to genome sequencing in December 2021 as compared to BA.1 lineage, which was 8 percent.

This proportion, however, grew sharply over the next few weeks, and collectively BA.1 and BA.2 were found in over 95 percent samples subjected to whole-genome sequencing in most cities.

The information assumes significance in the wake of the World Health Organisation issuing a fresh statement on February 22 which said that based on the available data of transmission, severity, reinfection, diagnostics, therapeutics, and impacts of vaccines, BA.2 sublineage should continue to be considered a variant of concern.