Heavily mutated COVID-19 Variant detected in South Africa, Ministry issues alert


Multiple cases of a COVID­19 variant 8.1.1529, which is named as Omicron by WHO (World Health Organisation) have been reported in BotswanaSouth Africa and Hong Kong

Key Points:

  • This new COVID­19 variant was first detected in South Africa.
  • This variant is reported to have a significantly high number of mutations.
  • The Government has ordered that travelers from South Africa must be screened and those who test positive must have their samples sent to the Indian SARS­CoV­2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).

Other Variants of COVID-19:

  • Alpha - B.1.1.7 and B.1.1.7 with E484K (Outbreak- United Kingdom).
  • Beta - B.1.351 (Outbreak - South Africa).
  • Gama - P.1 (Outbreak - Brazil).
  • Delta - B.1.617.2 (Outbreak - India)

Indian SARS­CoV­2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG).

The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG), is a joint effort of the Union Health Ministry of Health, and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and a  consortium of 28 National Laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.

 INSACOG is a multi-laboratory, multi-agency, Pan-India network to monitor genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.


The network carries out whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus across the nation, aiding the understanding of how the virus spreads and evolves, and provide information to aid public health response

  • (SARS-CoV-2)means  "severe acute  respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2"

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