IANS

A case of Omicron BF.7 Covid sub-variant was detected in Odisha, in a single sample tested on September 30, state Health Department officials said on Wednesday.

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

The woman, who came out asymptomatic at that time of test, had got tested for her travel to the US. She and her family have been there since October, but none of them have any flu-like symptoms since their departure from India, the department said.

At the time of testing, the Centre 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, state's Director, Public Health Niranjan Mishra said

Meanwhile, the Odisha government has asked all Collectors, district Chief Medical Officers and heads of healthcare institutions to strengthen surveillance and Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS) for Covid-19 management in view of recent rising cases in China, Japan, the US, South Korea, and Brazil.

In a letter to the officials concerned, Health Secretary Shalini Pandit said that there is rise in Covid cases in China, Japan, the US, S. Korea, and Brazil, India has been put on alert mode to follow the operational guidelines for revised surveillance strategy in context of Covid-19 as per directions issued by 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, the Health Secretary said.

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 protocols and guidelines of the Centre.

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