17 different Omicron sub-variants circulating in NepalThe Health Ministry said that the B.F.7 sub-variant of Omicron has been confirmed in neighbouring countries, but is yet to be confirmed in Nepal.
At least 17 different sub-variants of the Omicron variant of Covid have been circulating in Nepal at present, a whole-genome sequencing carried out by the Ministry of Health and Population has shown.
According to results furnished by the National Public Health Laboratory to the health ministry, BA.2, BA2.75, BA.2.75.1, BA.2.75.2, BA.2.75.3, BA.2.75.5, BA.2.75.6, BA.2.76, BA.5.2, BA.5.2.1, BM.1, BM.1.1.3, BN.1.3, BQ.1.1, BQ.1.2, By.1 and XBB sub-variants of the Omicron variant have been found to be circulating in the country.
The laboratory had carried out whole genome sequencing in swab samples of 48 people infected with Covid.
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.
“B.F.7 sub-variant of Omicron confirmed in neighbouring countries has not yet been detected in our country,” a statement issued by the health ministry said on Thursday.
Omicron’s BA.2 sub-variant, which had led to a third wave in various countries including Nepal, is considered far more infectious than all other previous variants.
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 Thursday, Nepal reported one case of coronavirus infection. Of the 216 swab samples on which polymerase chain reaction tests were carried out, only one person tested positive for the virus. The Health Ministry said that 974 antigen tests were carried out, but all returned negative.
Of late, most people are shunning even the basic Covid safety measures such as wearing face masks, maintaining social distance, and washing hands. The Health Ministry has urged people to follow the basics—wearing face masks, maintaining social distance and avoiding crowds.
So far, 12,019 Covid-related deaths have been reported in Nepal, according to the official count. The Health Ministry said that 22,324,933 people or 76.5 percent of the total population have been fully vaccinated. The number of people taking booster shots stands at 7,972,791, as of Thursday.