No genome reports received for last 2 weeks in Kashmir

1700 samples genome sequenced in a year, no Omicron in Kashmir yet: Govt
A health official while speaking to Greater Kashmir said the data of samples sent for Genome Sequencing since 13 December was unavailable as the reports had not been received yet.
A health official while speaking to Greater Kashmir said the data of samples sent for Genome Sequencing since 13 December was unavailable as the reports had not been received yet. File: Aman Farooq/ GK

Srinagar: With cases of Omicron multiplying every day across India, Kashmir’s Omicron spread status is yet unknown due to non-availability of Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) reports of samples sent to the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) in the past two weeks.

Earlier reports show the fast-spreading variant was not present in any sample.

J&K Government has said that no case of Omicron has been reported in Kashmir tilll now. While sharing data of WGS from INSACOG, Additional Chief Secretary to J&K Government, Vivek Bhardwaj said that the Government was regularly taking positive samples from the population as well as the travellers and sending these for sequencing.

He said from 25 January, 2021 upto 30 December, 2021, 2247 samples from Kashmir division have been sent for sequencing. Of these, he said, 1688 reports had been received while 335 samples were rejected. Of the sequenced samples, 900 were found to be Delta Variant and 140 had Alpha Variant.

In addition, 37 samples had the Kappa variant while 226 others had mutations other than these, predominantly sub-lineages of the Delta variant. None, he said, was found to have the Omicron variant.

However, a health official while speaking to Greater Kashmir said the data of samples sent for Genome Sequencing since 13 December was unavailable as the reports had not been received yet. “We have received reports up to December 13 and for the two weeks that marked the beginning of Omicron in India, no positive sample from Kashmir was because of this new mutant,” he said.

The official expressed urgency in getting “faster, more real-time genome data”. He said that many states have put in mechanisms to expedite the identification of Omicron in positive samples. In Delhi, he said, nearly 500 samples are sequenced every day. “They have over 80 per cent samples showing Omicron as on date,” he said.

One sample from a traveller, who was found positive on December 1 at Srinagar International Airport was negative for Omicron, the official said. Since then, he said, nine travellers with a history of travel to outside the country have been found positive and their samples sent for Genome Sequencing.

In the Jammu division, cases of Omicron were reported in December. All three people who were infected with the variant had no travel history indicating the presence of the Virus in the community. Bhardwaj said 1262 samples from the Jammu division were genome sequenced in the year and 499 of these had Delta variant.

The status of Omicron variant spread has come under focus due to the sudden spike in cases in many parts of India. Currently, 23 states of India have reported cases of Omicron. Experts have attributed the case rise in India to this new highly transmissible mutation. India has seen a six-fold increase in cases in the past nine days.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Greater Kashmir
www.greaterkashmir.com