Omicron sub-variant BM.1.1.3 circulating in NepalOf the swab samples of nine people, all tested positive for different sub-variants on Sunday.
Nepal on Sunday confirmed the infection of Omicron’s new sub-variant BM.1.1.3.
Experts say BM.1.1.3 is another descendant of highly transmissible Omicron’s sub-variant BA.2.
According to the Dhulikhel Hospital, which carried out whole-genome sequencing on swab samples of nine coronavirus-infected persons recently, along with BM.1.1.3, BA.2.75.1, BA.2.75.2 and BA.2.75.3 have been detected in the swab samples.
“Several sub-variants of the Omicron variant of the virus have been found in all swab samples of infected persons,” Dr Rajiv Shrestha, an infectious disease expert at the Dhulikhel Hospital, told the Post.
“This means the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been continuously circulating in communities. Detection of a new-sub variant of the virus means that the virus is not only circulating, but also mutating continuously.”
Whole-genome sequencing is a comprehensive method of analysing the entire DNA sequence of an organism’s genes. Researchers say that whole-genome sequencing of the coronavirus could be instrumental in tracking the severity and properties of the virus.
Omicron’s BA.2 variant sub-variant, itself is considered far more infectious than all other previous variants, which led to a third wave in various countries, including Nepal. It is made up of several sub lineages and the most common is BA.1, BA.2.BA.3, and B.1.1.529. And several others.
Nepal has reported almost all variants and sub-variants of Covid-19 detected in any corner of the world. Due to the high mobility of people across the globe, the risk of any virus variant entering the country remains always high, doctors say.
On Sunday, Nepal reported four cases of coronavirus infection. Of the 512 swab samples on which polymerase chain reaction tests were carried out, three tested positive for the virus, and one person tested positive for the virus in an antigen test.
The number of positive cases was only one on Saturday.
Doctors, however, say the numbers of positive cases declared by the Health Ministry are neither real nor close to reality.
“When we stop carrying out testing we will not find a single case of infection,” said Shrestha.
Authorities stopped carrying out active case finding a long time ago. Only healthy people who need a report of a polymerase chain reaction test to go abroad, are undergoing testing.
Of late, most people are shunning even the basic Covid-19 safety measures such as wearing face masks, maintaining social distance, and washing hands.
So far, 12,019 deaths have been reported from Covid in the country, according to the official count. The Health Ministry said as many as 1,153,084 people have tested positive for Covid throughout the country since the start of the pandemic nearly three years ago.
The Health Ministry said that 22,324,933 people or 76.5 percent of the total population has been fully vaccinated. The number of people taking booster shots stands at 7,972,791, as of Thursday.