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No Clear Evidence on Omicron’s Severity in India: Centre’s Research Body INSACOG

INSACOG, however, noted, that the new COVID-19 variant continues to grow globally as a "variant of concern."

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In its latest bulletin, published on Monday, 20 December, Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), the Union government's research body, said there is no clear evidence on the transmissibility, severity or immune evasion of the Omicron variant in India.

It, however, noted, that the new COVID-19 variant continues to grow globally as a "variant of concern."

"At this time, there is no clear evidence regarding transmissibility, immune evasion, or severity (of Omicron) in India," INSACOG's bulletin available on its official website noted.

Appropriate investigations and public health measures are being held to understand the new variant, the bulletin, dated 13 December, further said.

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'There Is Insufficient Data for Omicron Severity in Unvaccinated or Partially Vaccinated'

While Delta, including B.1.617.2 (AY) and AY.x sublineages, continues to be the main variant of concern globally, Omicron continues to grow rapidly, INSACOG said.

"Cases have continued to increase in South Africa, with smaller but clear rise in hospitalisations. Pending complete genomic sequencing, in UK, S-gene target failure has shown very rapid increase in likely Omicron cases and this would represent significant growth advantage against Delta," the Consortium added.

INSACOG also said that a sub-lineage of Omicron (BA.2) with absence of S-gene target failure, has been reported.

While there are some indicators that the disease may be milder with Omicron, it added that there is insufficient data to determine whether this is because of prior infections or vaccination. There is insufficient data for Omicron severity in unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated older subjects.

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