A new Omicron subvariant – EG.5.1 – has been detected in Maharashtra in the first instance of its presence in India. However, the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the state has not been officially attributed to this.
A senior scientist said, the subvariant was detected two months back but it didn’t have any visible impact in the state all these days. He said, the earlier XBB.1.16 and XBB.2.3 were still dominating in Maharashtra and leading the recent surge.
According to data from the state health department, the number of active Covid-19 cases increased from 70 at the end of July to 115 on August 6. The case count in the state on Monday was 109.
EG.5.1 recently triggered concerns in the United Kingdom, prompting a health alert there. The UK is experiencing a rapid proliferation of the EG.5.1 subvariant, which has been given the nickname ‘Eris’.
It was officially recognised on July 31 after a surge in cases was attributed to this subvariant.
EG.5.1 is a sub-strain of Omicron XBB.1.9. Officials are closely monitoring hospital admissions, particularly in Mumbai, Pune, and Thane as they see higher numbers of active cases in these places.
Senior government officials said it was still too early to term this as an increase in cases, pledging to monitor the situation closely. The state is seeing a slight rise in Covid over the last three to four days.
As patients with flu-like symptoms are more frequently being seen seeking medical care, doctors stress the importance of differentiating between Covid and other seasonal infections which may seem like Covid by the dominant symptoms.