Pune, Jun 22 (PTI) The majority of patients infected with Omicron’s subvariant – BA.2 and its progeny BA.2.38 – did not require hospitalization, and the illnesses caused by them were mild and self-limiting , a clinical study has revealed.
The study, led by Dr. Rajesh Karyekarte of BJ Medical College, was performed on 116 patients infected with BA.2.38, a progeny of Omicron’s subvariant BA.2.
Speaking to PTI on Wednesday, Dr. Karyekarte that they had performed the genome sequencing of some samples from April to June and sent the report to the government.
“During the analysis, we found that BA.2 is common, but the progeny BA.2.38 is also common and neck-and-neck with BA.2,” said Dr. Karyekarte.
He said the report was submitted to the government and the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (Insacog) and was informed at a meeting that the occurrence of BA.2.38 is the same as BA.2.
“We were then told to conduct a rapid study of BA.2.38 to determine its severity. We immediately conducted the study with 116 patients (with BA.2.38), who were at home and had already recovered,” said Dr. Karyekarte, adding that the information of these patients was requested by telephone.
The majority of these patients had experienced mild symptoms, while only one person required oxygen support and one was brought to death, he said.
“Most patients did not require hospitalization or specific treatment. We concluded that the symptoms of disease (caused by BA.2.38) were related to BA.2 and no other symptoms were found,” said Dr. Karyekarte.
The overall severity of the disease was mild and it shows that vaccination helped, he said, adding that only one of the patients had not been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The researcher further said that one of the studies conducted abroad showed that the BA.2.38 has a growth advantage over BA.2 and that BA.2.38 will spread more than BA.2.
“In our research, we found that the Omicron subvariant and its offspring are neck and neck,” said Dr. Karyekarte.
dr. Vaibhav Purandare, an infectious disease specialist, said the study’s findings were consistent with the research they have conducted over the past two years.
“As for BA.2.38, the disease is mild and self-limiting. The findings are as expected,” he said.
In the case of swine flu, a large number of cases were reported in 2009, but in 2010 cases only fell to a marginal peak again in 2012. The later the ups and downs were observed, he said.
“Even today we see the occurrence of swine flu cases. When this happens, we say the disease has become endemic, meaning it is no longer a threat to public health, but cases are not completely eliminated because there is always a small amount of infectious disease transmission, year round.” says dr. Purandare said.
The strains such as BA.2, BA.2.38 or BA.5, or other offspring, will continue to change, he said.
“As they move from one body to another, they tend to change or mutate. The virus, which comes from bats, tries to adapt to the human body and adapts to survive. But the species will have to pay the cost for it by going lenient,” said Dr. Purandare.
However, he insisted that no conclusion can be drawn about endemism based on this study.
“Whatever I said about endemism, it was my personal impression. But the only conclusion that can be drawn from the study is that the illness caused by BA.2.38 was mild in nature, with occasional death and fever. It stayed in the upper airways, was self-limiting and the patient recovers on its own,” said Dr. Purandare.
The variants will come and go. The COVID-19 disease will become endemic and take the place of other infectious diseases such as swine flu or the flu, he added. PTI SPK ARU ARU
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