Omicron responsible for 88 percent of new Covid-19 infections in NepalAccording to the Health Ministry, Omicron has been confirmed even in S-gene positive swab samples.
Omicron, the highly contagious variant of the SARS-COV-2, is responsible for 88 percent of coronavirus infections in Nepal.
A whole-genome sequencing carried out by the National Public Health laboratory shows that out of 32 swab samples of infected people, 28 tested positive for the Omicron variant.
“Delta variant of the virus has been found responsible for infection in only 12 percent of the infected people,” said Dr Samir Kumar Adhikari, joint spokesperson at the Ministry of Health and Population. “The study shows that the Omicron variant has been clearly displacing the Delta variant, which had wreaked havoc in the second wave of the pandemic in the country.”
This time, the laboratory tested the swab samples of the infected people, whose S-gene targets were found positive. Earlier, the laboratory had only carried out whole-genome sequencing in swab samples of infected people with S-gene dropout, one of the proxy indicators of Omicron.
According to doctors, swab samples in which the S-gene targets are missing are considered to be infected with the Omicron variant; laboratories use samples with S-gene missing for whole-genome sequencing to determine the presence of the said variant.
“This time, we selected all S-gene positive swab samples and carried out whole-genome sequencing,” said Adhikari. “In the S-gene positive swab samples, we found the presence of the Omicron variant in 88 percent of swab samples.”
Earlier, the Health Ministry had attributed the Omicron variant to 25 percent of the infections.
On Sunday, 6,462 people tested positive—5,598 in 13,377 polymerase chain reaction tests and 864 in 4,060 antigen tests.
The number of tests has declined, as most state-run laboratories do not perform tests on Saturdays and other government holidays.
The active number of cases in the country stands at 77,040 as of Sunday.