In an alarming incident, 42 students were found COVID-19 positive at a Telangana school. The test samples will be tested for the Omicron variant. A few months after the second wave of COVID-19 wave receded and India griped with the Dengue outbreak, a new threat of a potentially more infectious third wave of COVID-19 looms. While the Delta variant was known as more fatal and equally infections, research is showing that the Omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is more infectious than any other variants. As the mutation was discovered recently, information like vaccine efficacy,

The virus also comes at a time when the nation relaxed its international travel restrictions for people traveling to and from India to elsewhere. Although many countries have stopped flights from countries affected by the new variant, India is yet to do so.

Background

Like Hydra, a mythic creature whose head when cut, is replaced by two more, the COVID-19 virus is continuing to mutate. The newest mutation named Omicron, has been judged by “high risk” in infection by the World Health Organization.

The new variant is also popularly known as the South African variant, as it was discovered in South Africa when its researchers tested some samples and adhered to genome sequencing.

Meanwhile India has as many as 1,00,543 active cases currently.


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The Facts of the Matter

Amid growing concerns of an impending third wave of the COVID-19, as many as 42 students were found COVID-19 positive. Further, 1 teacher was also found positive. The small cluster of students and teacher was from Telangana’s Sanagareddy district.

The students were residing in the Mahatma Jyotibha Phule Telangana Backward Classess Welfare Residential School. What’s alarming is the fact that the resident school; houses a total of 491 students. A test of 261 students was conducted among which 42 students were found positive.


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Samples to Be Tested for Omicron Variant

Reportedly, the samples of the tested students will be sent to the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology for sequencing amid the worries regarding the Omicron variant. The school meanwhile has been turned into an isolation center and the positive students were reported to be asymtomatic and in stable conditions.

Telangana’s Recent Bout with Rise in COVID Cases

It should be noted that this is the third instance where a cluster of individuals was found to be COVID-19 positive in Telangana in the last 10 days. Earlier, 25 students and 5 staff personnel were found COVID-19 positive from an institute named Mahindra University, Hyderabad.

Before that, as many as 29 students were tested positive for the virus. The 29 students were living in a government run residential school in Khamman district.

Meanwhile News18 reported that Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao has instructed the administration to continue with the test, track and trace strategy to curb the spread and break the chain.

Further, the CM also instructed the administration to strengthen the medial infrastructure so that availability of beds, oxygen cylinders and COVID-19 kits do not become a problem if cases rise.


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Omicron Virus: What is it? Where Did it Come From?

The Omicron virus is the newest variant of the COVID-19 virus after the Delta virus. The variant is also referred as the B.1.1.529 and according to the World Health Organization the “preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant”.

The virus was first linked to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in the South African province called Gauteng. Further, the first sample of the virus was collected from Botswana, South Africa in early November.

Omicron Virus: Is it More Dangerous?

Most virologists are saying that there isn’t enough data to claim that the virus is more dangerous than the Delta variant. However, the concerns come from the fact that the Omicron variant has 30 mutations in its protein – more than double from Delta variant. This may lead to a higher rate of transmission and reinfection.