Two samples in Karnataka found infected with AY.4.2

There is no need for panic since they are not new samples, but people should stay vigilant: Experts

Although two samples from Karnataka were retrospectively found to be infected with AY.4.2 — a sub-lineage of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 — State health officials and genome sequencing experts say there is no reason to panic as of now.

Scientists have indicated that this new sub-lineage may be more contagious than the original Delta variant. AY.4.2 has now been declared as a ‘Variant under Investigation’ (VuI) in the U.K., where cases are on the rise. However, State health officials said there was no reason to panic as the two samples collected in July were retrospectively found to be infected with this sub-lineage during reanalysis of over 1,300 samples that were genome sequenced in the last few months.

“Both the persons infected are from Bengaluru and were asymptomatic. We identified a total of 50 primary contacts of these two cases and all have tested negative. We did not find any more cases so far with AY.4.2 and this evidence shows that this sub-lineage is not highly transmissible in Karnataka,” D. Randeep, State Health Commissioner, told The Hindu.

V. Ravi, nodal officer for genomic confirmation of SARS-CoV-2 in Karnataka, said when the two cases were infected with AY.4.2 in July, the sub-lineage was not even classified.


“After the sub-lineage was declared as a VuI in the U.K., all genome sequenced samples were reanalysed in the country and a total of 17 samples were found to have been infected with AY.4.2 in the country. Of these, two are from Karnataka. Though there is no reason to panic, we have to continue to be more vigilant. People should realise that the virus is still mutating,” Dr. Ravi said.

U.S. Vishal Rao, member of the State’s Genomic Surveillance Committee, said genomic surveillance had been stepped up following the detection of the two cases. “The detection of another sub-lineage reiterates the fact that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is not at rest. It is continuously transforming itself to attain more transmissibility, virulence and vaccine-escape mutations,” he said.

“Hence it is prudent at this juncture to further strengthen the vaccination drive so that in this race between the vaccine and the variants, we are able to overcome the variants through accelerated vaccination,” he added.

Health and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar said he was discussing the issue with the State’s COVID-19 Technical Advisory Committee and Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai.

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Sagar Biswas

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