The Odisha government asked the district administrations to strengthen surveillance and take measures for whole genome sequencing of COVID-positive samples after Omicron subvariant BF.7 was detected in the state.
In a letter to the district collectors and medical colleges on Wednesday, state health department secretary Shalini Pandit said surveillance and whole genome sequencing (WSG) for COVID-19 management were needed in view of a surge in coronavirus cases in China, Japan, the US, Korea and Brazil.
“In view of the sudden spurt of cases being witnessed in certain counties, it is essential to gear up the disease surveillance and WSG of positive case samples to track the variant through Indian SARS CoV-2 Genomic Consortium (INSACOG) network," she said.
The strategy of testing, tracking, treating, contact tracing, vaccination and COVID-19 appropriate behaviour needs to be flowed scrupulously to enable "timely detection of newer variant", she added.
The case of the Omicron subvariant BF.7, apparently the strain driving China's current surge of COVID infections, was detected in Odisha on September 30, the official said.
The ICMR's Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Bhubaneswar conducted the genome sequencing of the sample, she said, adding that during the testing, it was found that the "sample was neither a variant of concern (VOC) nor a variant of interest".
"No other sample of Omicron BF.7 subvariant was detected in Odisha in the last three months," she said.
The woman, who tested positive for Omicron BF.7, was asymptomatic at the time of the test, the official said.
She underwent the COVID test before her travel to the US.
"She and her family have been staying in the US since October. None of them has any flu-like symptoms since their departure from India," the official said.
Odisha's Director of Health Services Bijay Mohapatra said the state has all the required facilities to deal with any situation.
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