Detailed Genome Analysis in Beijing Suggested New Covid-19 Cases Caused by Existing Strains
Researchers have been worried about the emerging new variants of COVID-19 as they can reduce the efficacy of existing vaccines. Much to their relief, a recent study published in Lancet has said that no new cases of covid were reported during the recent surge in infections. The study was based on an analysis of coronavirus cases in Beijing.
Two Dominant Variants During 2022 were Sub-Variants of Omicron
According to the study, there were two most dominant variants in Beijing during 2022. They were sub-variants of Omicron – BA.5.2 and BF.7. These two variants account for over 90 per cent of local infections in China between November 14 and December 20, 2022.
Detailed genome analysis of 413 new covid cases in Beijing was done during the period when the country decided to lift its strict pandemic control policies. The analysis suggested that all the new cases were caused only by existing strains.
“Our analysis found the prevalence of two known Omicron sub-variants – rather than any new variants. These variants have been mainly responsible for the current surge in the number of coronavirus cases in Beijing, and likely China as a whole. However, with the ongoing large-scale circulation of Covid-19 in China, it is important we continue to monitor the situation closely so that any new variants that might emerge are found as early as possible,” Professor George Gao of the Institute of Microbiology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.
Detailed Analysis of 413 New Sequences, Researchers Found That They All Belonged to Existing & Known Strains of COVID-19.
Ever since the coronavirus was declared a global pandemic, new variants like Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Omicron have contributed to the multiple waves of covid around the world.
This is why for the latest study, the authors analysed covid samples of the cases that were detected in Beijing in 2022. Rapid and large-scale sequencing technology was used by researchers to generate genome sequences. They then analysed the evolutionary history and population dynamics were analysed using existing high-quality covid sequences.