New COVID-19 sub-variant BA.2.75 detected in India: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) has found a new sub-lineage BA.2.75 of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in India and some other countries, PTI reported. COVID-19 is witnessing a resurgence globally with the WHO saying a 30% increase in the cases was reported over the last two weeks. Omicron sub-variants like BA.4 and BA.5 have already triggered waves in Europe and the US.
Why does this story matter?
India is currently witnessing a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. On Thursday, the country reported a rise of nearly 2,800 coronavirus cases than the day before. Among states/UTs, Kerala continued to add most new cases to the tally. Delhi is also witnessing a continuous surge in daily cases. This comes after the country recorded a sharp decline in infections from January end to April beginning.
What exactly did WHO say?
"On COVID-19, globally reported cases have increased nearly 30% over the past two weeks. Four out of six of the WHO sub-regions saw cases increase in the last week," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. "In Europe and America, BA.4 and BA.5 are driving waves. In countries like India a new sub-lineage of BA.2.75 has also been detected, which we're following," he said.
How did experts describe the findings?
WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said the sub-lineage of Omicron variant BA.2.75 was first reported from India and then from about 10 other countries. However, there are limited sequences available of it to analyze, she added. Although the sub-variant has some receptor-binding properties, it's still unknown if this sub-variant has "properties of additional immune evasion or indeed of being more clinically severe," Swaminathan said.
WHO's chief scientist discusses the new strain
How is WHO tracking the sub-variant?
Swaminathan said the WHO is tracking the sub-variant and the Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution (TAG-VE) is constantly looking at the data from around the world. "At any time if there is an emergence of a virus that looks very different from a previous one, enough to be called a separate variant of concern, then the committee will do that," she added.
What did data reveal about COVID-19 resurgence?
As per PTI, over 4.6 million cases were recorded between June 27 and July 3—somewhat similar to the previous week. The number of new weekly deaths, however, fell by 12% from the previous week with approximately 8100 recorded fatalities, it said. To note, over 546 million verified COVID-19 infections and more than 6.3 million fatalities were recorded globally as of July 3, 2022.
South-East Asia Region too sees increasing trend in COVID-19
As per official figures, the South-East Asia Region has reported a rise in cases since early June, with over 157,000 new cases recorded. It amounts to a 20% increase over the previous week. Five of 10 nations (50%) with data indicated a rise of 20% or more in the number of new cases. Bhutan, Nepal, and Bangladesh have been showing the biggest percentage increases.
India reported highest number of new cases
As per official figures, the highest number of new cases were recorded from India (112,456 new cases, a 21% rise), Thailand (15,950, a 6% increase), and Bangladesh (13,516 new cases, a 53% increase) between June 27 and July 3 this year.Share this timeline