As India confirms new variant of COVID-19, genome sequencing being conducted in Nepal as well

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KATHMANDU, June 13: As BA 5, a new sub-variant of omicron, has been detected in Pune, Maharashtra, India, genome sequencing is being conducted in Nepal as well, according to Chuman Lal Das, director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.

“So far, reports of genome sequencing in Nepal have detected BA.2, a sub-variant of omicron,” Das added.

According to Das, genome sequencing of those people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 at India-Nepal border points in the past three days is being conducted.

The latest report of whole-genome sequencing from B J Medical College, Pune has found a 37-year-old man positive for the BA.5 sub-variant of the Omicron strain of the COVID-19 on Saturday.

It has been learned that the patient, who arrived from England on May 21, had taken both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. He was diagnosed with the virus on June 2.

So far he has mild symptoms, according to Dr. Rajesh Karyakarte, state coordinator for genome sequencing.

Earlier, Maharashtra had reported its first cases of the COVID-19 infection with BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of the Omicron strain of the virus in at least seven cases in Pune.

As the two countries share an open border, the surge of COVID-19 cases in any of the countries directly affects the other. So, it is likely that the same virus can be detected in Nepal as well, according to health experts.

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