New COVID Sub-Variant BA 2.75 Detected in India, WHO Says

from Sputnik News:

India saw a steady increase in COVID cases in June. On average, the country reported fewer than 3,000 daily cases in May, but by the end of June, it had started reporting 17,000 cases per day. These numbers, however, are much lower than they were during the peak of Omicron in January.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that the new BA.2.75 sub-lineage of the Omicron variant of COVID has been detected in India.

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“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,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing on Wednesday.

He said that new COVID cases reported worldwide have spiked by nearly 30 percent.

Experts say the BA.2.75 variant includes new mutations in the spike protein, in addition to mutations that are already present in the Omicron variant.

This allows it to evade several antibodies and can infect people who have been vaccinated or infected previously. The detection of BA.2.75 has led scientists across the globe to dive deep into the research to learn more about the new variant and the possibility of another COVID wave.

In India, the BA.5 sub-variant has been detected in the states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Telangana, Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat, and the Ladakh union territory as well.
WHO Chief Scientist Soumya Swaminathan said in a video posted on Twitter that there has been an emergence of a sub-variant called the BA.2.75, “first reported from India and then from about 10 other countries.”
Swaminathan said there are still limited sequences available of the sub-variant to analyze, “but this sub-variant seems to have a few mutations on the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein. So obviously, that’s a key part of the virus that attaches itself to the human receptor.”

“So we have to watch that. It’s still too early to know if this sub-variant has properties of additional immune evasion or indeed of being more clinically severe. We don’t know that,” she added.

Last week, Dr. Shay Fleishon, an Israeli scientist, claimed that a new coronavirus variant had hit 10 Indian states and sparked concerns of a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The current daily positive test rate is, however, is around 4.32 percent, down from around 16-17 percent in January 2022, the peak of the first Omicron wave.

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