Omicron in community transmission: INSACOG
- In India, Omicron is now used in community transmission and has grown prominent in a number of metro areas, where new cases are increasing at an exponential rate.
- the spread of Omicron in India is now expected to be through internal transmission, not foreign travellers.
About Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG)
- The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is a collaboration between the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), in collaboration with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
- It's a consortium of 28 national laboratories working together to track SARS-CoV-2 genomic variations.
- It conducts full genome sequencing of the SARS-CoV-2 virus across the country to aid in the understanding of the virus's distribution and evolution.
- INSACOG also wants to focus on clinical sample sequencing to better understand illness dynamics and severity.
- It is a new variant B 1.1. 529, which was designated as a ‘Variant of Concern’ by World Health Organisation.
- It was reported by public health officials of South Africa, and has triggered a lot of concern worldwide over a probable resurgence of Covid infections.
WHO currently lists 5 variants of concern:
- Omicron (B.1.1.529), identified in southern Africa in November 2021.
- Delta (B.1.617.2), which emerged in India in late 2020 and spread around the world.
- Gamma (P.1), which emerged in Brazil in late 2020.
- Beta (B.1.351), which emerged in South Africa in early 2020.
- Alpha (B.1.1.7), which emerged in Britain in late 2020.
Emergence of variants of a Virus
- A virus's variants have one or more mutations that distinguish them from other variants in circulation.
- The main purpose of Virus is to evolve to the point where it can coexist with humans, as it requires a host to survive.
- Mutations are errors in the viral RNA, and viruses bearing these mutations are known as variants. A single or more mutations could differentiate variants.