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Odisha Detects Omicron BF.7

Bhubaneswar: Department of Health and Family Welfare (DoHFW) on Wednesday said that one Omicron BF.7 Covid sub-variant was detected in Odisha in a single sample tested on 30 September.

The RT-PCR testing of a female of Khurda district was done on demand.  Later, Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar did the genome sequencing for the sample.

The lady tested was asymptomatic at time of test. She got tested for her travel to the USA. She and her family have been in the USA since October. None of them have any flu like symptoms since their departure from India, the DoHFW said.

At the time of testing, the Government of India neither declared it as a VOC (Variant of Concern) or VOI (Variant of Interest). In the past three months, no other sample of BF.7 has been detected in Odisha, it said.

Meanwhile, the Health and Family Welfare Secretary Shalini Pandit has asked all District Collectors, Chief District Medical Officers and heads of healthcare institutions to strengthen surveillance and Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS) for Covid-19 management in view of recent rising in cases China, Japan, USA, Korea & Brazil.

In a letter, Shrimati Pandit said that there is a rise in Covid cases in China, Japan, USA, Korea & Brazil and India is put on alert mode to follow the operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy in context of Covid-19 issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in June 2022.

She asked the officials to gear up the disease surveillance and WGS of positive case samples to track the variant through the Indian SARS CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network.

Further testing, tracking, treating, contact tracing, vaccination and Covid-19 appropriate behaviour needs to be followed scrupulously to enable timely detection of newer variants and facilitated for immediate containment measures, said the health secretary.

Shrimati Pandit also asked to send the samples of positive cases on a daily basis to the nearest INSACOG lab (RMRC & ILS, Bhubaneswar). She also advised to take cluster containment measures immediately as per the protocol and guideline of Government of India.