Contacts of South African National Who Tested Positive for BA.4 Found Negative for Virus

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A South African national, who had tested positive for Omicron sub-variant BA.4 at the Hyderabad airport, had visited a business school in the city and all of his contacts were negative for the virus. The South African national, a visiting faculty, has since returned to his home country and the institute has taken up necessary steps like contact tracing and testing when it was subsequently informed about the former testing positive for BA.4, sources said on Tuesday.

All the contacts of the man have tested negative for the virus, they said. The institute was following the protocols and guidelines of the authorities in the matter, the sources said.

Meanwhile, efforts to reach out to state health officials about the condition of the Hyderabad man who tested positive for the BA.5 sub-variant were unsuccessful. The INSACOG has confirmed the presence of the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants of the coronavirus in India — one case in Tamil Nadu and another in Telangana.

BA.4 and BA.5 are sub-variants of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant of the virus. In a statement on Sunday last, the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) said a 19-year-old woman in Tamil Nadu has been found infected with the BA.4 sub-variant of the virus.

The patient has shown only mild clinical symptoms and has been fully vaccinated. She had no travel history. Earlier, a South African national was reported positive for the BA.4 sub-variant of Omicron on arrival at the Hyderabad airport.

In another case, a 80-year old man in Telangana has tested positive for the BA.5 sub-variant of the virus. He has shown only mild clinical symptoms and has been fully vaccinated. The patient had no travel history. “Contact tracing of the BA.4 and BA.5 patients is being undertaken as a precautionary measure,” the INSACOG said.

BA.4 and BA.5 are sub-variants of the Omicron variant circulating globally. These were first reported from South Africa earlier this year and are now being reported from several other countries. The INSACOG said these sub-variants have not been associated with disease severity or increased hospitalisation.

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