The highly infectious Omicron variant is spreading in six coastal districts from Srikakulam to Krishna in Andhra Pradesh. (DC photo)
Vijayawada: The highly infectious Omicron variant is spreading in six coastal districts from Srikakulam to Krishna in Andhra Pradesh. Some 84 per cent of the 425 swab samples – from among the Covid Positive cases -- were found Omicron Positive and 10 per cent infected by Delta variant, officials said.
The newly set up Whole Genome Sequencing Lab at Siddartha government medical here has been carrying out genome sequencing tests on select swab samples of international travellers and their contacts and five per cent of those selected from sentinel surveillance after these people tested Covid positive. This is to find out the variant they are carrying in their body.
The lab can test 48 swab samples collected from Covid19 positive patients in every 36-hour test cycle. The health authorities are sending samples to the lab mainly from six districts like Srikakulam, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna.
So far, six test cycles have been carried out at the lab and the results established the dominant presence of the Omicron variant in these districts.
The state government set up the next generation genome sequencing lab on a permanent basis to carry out genome sequencing of all organisms of human beings in future to come up with a scientific data on the viruses affecting the people.
Based on the successful functioning of the newly set up lab, there are plans to set up similar facilities in Visakhapatnam and Tirupati, so that swab samples collected from these regions will be sent to such labs for testing. More samples can be tested to help the state government come up with strategies to curb the spread of the virus.
Andhra Pradesh Vaidya Vidhana Parishad commissioner Dr Vinod Kumar, giving details of the tests said, "Omicron is widely prevalent in six the coastal districts from Srikakulam to Krishna."
Meanwhile, swab samples from international travellers, their contacts and others from the remaining seven districts are being sent to CCMB in Hyderabad for genome sequencing. The latest test results are awaited to find out the prevalence rates of the C-variants in these districts.
The CCMB also carries out genome sequencing tests for samples from TS and from parts of Maharashtra and other states.