Omicron BA.2.12.1 variant, responsible for US COVID surge, detected in Maharashtra

Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 has overtaken BA.2 as the dominant version of the pandemic coronavirus in the US

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Wednesday, June 15, 2022, 10:45 AM IST
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Representative Image | WHO

A new Omicron variant, BA.2.12.1, responsible for the latest surge in cases in the US, has been detected in Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, reported The Times of India on Wednesday.

Maharashtra saw 2,956 cases on Tuesday, after Monday's low of 1,885. Mumbai also reported 1,724 cases, up from 1,118. The state also recorded four deaths, although this is far from the scale of the first wave, never mind the second.

Meanwhile, as Covid cases rise, the Maharashtra health department has focused on stepping up genome surveillance and vaccination.

Is BA.2.12.1 more dangerous?

Not necessarily, although it is too early to tell

Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 has overtaken BA.2 as the dominant version of the pandemic coronavirus in the US, now accounting for an estimated 59 percent of cases nationwide.

But BA.2.12.1's reign may end as quickly as it began, with yet another batch of omicron subvariants gaining ground—BA.4 and BA.5—and threatening to cause more breakthrough infections.

BA.2.12.1 has a transmission advantage over BA.2, which itself has an edge over the initial omicron subvariant, BA.1, that caused a towering surge of US cases in mid-January.

BA.2 peaked in mid-April, accounting for 76 percent of US cases at its height. But then came BA.2.12.1, which is named for being the 12th lineage stemming from BA.2 and the first branch of that BA.2.12 lineage.

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